In one of the biggest MMA scandals to hit 2011 so far, Nate Marquardt was removed from his main event slot at today’s “UFC on Versus 4” event due to failing his medical examinations. Rumors and speculation have been running wild, with little actual facts to substantiate anything. But one thing we do know is that UFC President Dana White made the call to not only remove Marquardt from the event, but remove him from the UFC altogether. Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo is your new “UFC on Versus 4” main event, and Nate Marquardt is no longer a UFC employee.
It’s a story that’s been sweeping the internet, and it’s already divided a legion of fans. Some of the more-popular rumors is that Marquardt showed up overweight, or tried to cheat some type of test, or even that he had some type of viral infection. However, many top MMA journalists, including Ariel Helwani, have stated that we’ll probably never know the full extent of the situation. The athletic commission is currently very tight-lipped when it comes to discussing the situation.
MMA Weekly gives us a good recap. Basically, the laws concerning this issue prevent anyone other than Nate Marquardt himself from disclosing the full extent of his medical situation. All that’s known is that Marquardt was given several weeks to clear up whatever was afflicting him, and apparently he did not. When he showed up at yesterday’s weigh-ins, he was medically forbidden from competing. This then led Dana White to remove him from the “UFC on Versus 4” main event against Ricky Story, bump the Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry co-main event up to main event status, give Story Charlie Brenneman as a replacement opponent, and then fire Marquardt.
As a fan of Nate “The Great”, I’m honestly pretty sad to see him go. I think it’s very unfortunate that this situation is clouded in mystery. Hopefully Marquardt comes out with the truth, if only to clear his name. If he doesn’t I think Marquardt will have a cloud hanging over him for at least a year or so, as he competes in other promotions and tries to build his credibility back up.
Speaking of which, where does Marquardt go from here? He certainly can’t go to Strikeforce, the UFC owns them now. He could go to Bellator, they’ve got their fair share of former UFC fighters. But Marquardt was set to be in the main event of a pretty major UFC show. Can Bellator afford him? How much will Marquardt be charging in order to step into a cage that doesn’t belong to the UFC, doing it for the first time since 2005?
Since no one really knows what medical condition he had that led to him being forbidden to fight and even suspended, I think it’s unfair to judge Nate Marquardt harshly and assume it was steroids or that he tried to cheat a drug test. With his history as a respectable and entertaining fighter, I personally think he deserves the benefit of the doubt. This is a very unfortunate situation, but right now I do wish Marquardt the best. And that won’t be changing unless it’s officially revealed what he did that landed him in suspension and out of the UFC.