It’s the end of the line, fans and friends. Now that I’ve talked about the best fights and the best fighter of June 2011, it’s time to focus on the worst part of the month. Not every MMA event can be spectacular, not all fights are “Fight of the Year” candidates. In “Flop of the Month”, I’ll look back on and discuss the biggest stumbling block of June 2011: not only why it failed, but why it was the most-important or most high-profile failure of the month. And it doesn’t get much worse than getting pulled from the main event before getting fired by your boss. Here’s why Nate Marquardt’s Welterweight fiasco is June 2011’s “Flop of the Month”.
Let’s start by asking a simple question: who is Nate Marquardt?
There are two ways to answer that: professionally and personally. Professionally, Nate Marquardt is a well-respected veteran fighter that has made several good runs in the UFC’s Middleweight division. At one time he even challenged for the UFC Middleweight Championship. He’s headlined events. He single-handedly ruined the hype surrounding Demian Maia. And more importantly, he was set to make a high-profile drop down in weight in a fight that would headline the latest “UFC on Versus” event.
Personally, most people are in agreement that Nate Marquardt is a good person and a nice guy. He’s never really been embroiled in any huge rivalries, he doesn’t adopt a character in order to sell tickets… he is who he is.
Marquardt’s original opponent for the June “UFC on Versus” event was Anthony Johnson, a young Welterweight prospect that was trying to recapture the glory days of when he first debuted in the UFC and was looked upon as the next big thing, the hottest can’t-miss prospect in a division dominated by people that have felt the sting of a loss to Georges St. Pierre. Unfortunately, Johnson would pull out of the fight.
Rick Story was quickly named as Marquardt’s replacement, to the joy of many. Much like Johnson, Story had been making some big waves as of late. So while there was no real rivalry to speak of heading into this fight, there was definitely an awesome “veteran vs. prospect” appeal. Everything looked good to go… until the day of the weigh-ins.
In a shocking announcement that swept through all popular MMA media sites like wildfire, Nate Marquardt failed his pre-fight medicals and was not medically allowed to fight in the main event of “UFC on Versus 4”. This was followed up with an even more shocking announcement: UFC President Dana White would only minutes later reveal in a video upload that he had fired Nate Marquardt.
Rumors and speculation would run rampant, until Marquardt would come clean and reveal that Testosterone Replacement Therapy was the reason why he failed his medicals. Nowadays, there’s fierce debate on why TRT is good, why it’s bad, whether or not it should be allowed in MMA, whether or not it’s a cheap excuse to get performance enhancers, and whether or not Marquardt used it to the point where it became performance enhancing.
But no matter what, this story stood out to me as one of the biggest blunders of the year. In a matter of minutes, Nate Marquardt went from everything to nothing. A win over Story would’ve revitalized his career and gotten everyone talking about Nate Marquardt at Welterweight. Now he’s out of a job and his reputation may never fully recover. There’s not a doubt in my mind that Nate Marquardt deserves the “Flop of the Month” for June 2011.