Chael Sonnen Thinks Steroids Caused Juan Manuel Marquez to Go Through Second Puberty

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Chael Sonnen, the UFC light-heavyweight contender, thinks anabolic steroids may have caused boxer Juan Manuel Marquez to go through a second puberty. Jim Rome asked Sonnen for his thoughts on the recent Marquez versus Manny Pacquiao bout.

“Pacquiao got hit by a guy who miraculously went through puberty a second time at 39 years old,” Sonnen said. “He got hit by a guy that showed up with more power at 39 than he had in any of the previous fights. He had a 6 pack that he never had before.”

Sonnen acknowledged that Marquez passed the anti-steroid urinalysis administered at the fight. But Sonnen was unconvinced that Marquez was steroid-free. Sonnen believes he can determine whether or not an athlete is using steroids by muscle profiling.

Much has been made of the fact that Marquez had gained approximately 10 pounds in the months preceding his fight with Pacquiao. He bulked up to a soaking weight total of 143 pounds at a height of 5-feet, 7-inches at the Marquez vs. Pacquiao weigh-in. Marquez is probably the only 143-pounder in history to be accused of using steroids. Yet Marquez failed the “visual test” in Sonnen’s opinion.

Nonetheless, Sonnen defended Marquez – sort of.

“No, I haven’t said that (he’s on PEDs), but I sure came close, didn’t I?” Sonnen said. “I know that Freddy Roach did. I know Freddy Roach said, ‘If that body’s clean, I kiss your ass.’ But you gotta understand, all substances aren’t illegal. Did he take something? Sure, he did. Did he take something illegal? Well, according to the test, no. I just know you don’t go through puberty twice and I’ll leave it at that.”

Essentially, Sonnen denied accusing Marquez of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs. But Sonnen seemed convinced that Marquez was using some type of PED. He suggested that it was a legal PED.

Sonnen knows from personal experience that an MMA fighter can use anabolic steroids legally in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of state athletic commissions that regulate MMA and boxing.

Sonnen gained permission to use the anabolic steroid testosterone after he appealed a failed testosterone:epitestosterone ratio (T:E) test. Sonnen was suspended only for failing to obtain a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). However, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) recognized the legitimacy of TRT and testosterone use in MMA athletes during the Sonnen ruling.

Since the Sonnen case, numerous MMA fighters have obtained TUE for testosterone.

Sonnen considers his use of testosterone as “taking something legal.” Perhaps, Sonnen was implying that Marquez was the beneficiary of a similar legal advantage?

Chael Sonnen


Petit, J. (December 27, 2012). Chael Sonnen: “(Marquez) Miraculously Went Through Puberty A Second Time At 39 Years Old.” Retrieved from