Ever since Nate Marquardt’s highly-published falling-out with the UFC, every fan of Nate “The Great” has been wondering where the veteran fighter will next call home. Strikeforce is obviously not an option due to it being owned by Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC. Upstart promotion Bellator FC seemed like the most logical step, although I openly wondered if Bellator would be able to afford the services of Marquardt. It now appears that they at least want to try: a new report says that Bellator will wait until Marquardt gets his licensing issues straightened out, but that the promotion is definitely interested in the former UFC Middleweight Championship contender. Here are all the details.
MMA Mania brings word that in a recent episode of MMA Live, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said the following about Marquardt: “We all recognize he’s a very talented fighter. And I’m as interested like you are to see how the situation plays out with the commission… Anybody who would tell you that they’re not interested in Nate… would be lying to you. So, sure, we’re interested but let’s see how things play out over the next couple weeks with the commission and then we can go from there.”
When asked whether or not he would have Marquardt fight as a Middleweight or Welterweight, Rebney basically said that the call would be Marquardt’s to make.
Marquardt’s shocking release from the UFC took the internet by storm back around the time of “UFC on Versus 4”. Marquardt was medically forbidden to compete at the event on the day of the weigh-ins, leaving the UFC high, dry, and vindictive enough to fire him. Marquardt would later reveal that he was taking testosterone replacement therapy. Debate would then rage and continues to rage on whether or not TRT is performance enhancing, with fighters as varied as BJ Penn and Dan Hardy strongly condemning Marquardt’s actions.
It should also be noted that Ben Askren, the current Welterweight Champion of Bellator, has publicly called out Marquardt for his actions.
Would Marquardt make an interesting addition to Bellator’s roster? Of course he would, there’s absolutely no denying that. But would he be worth the hassle, considering that he’s coming off of a major controversy? Now there’s the million-dollar question, fans and friends.
I suppose it all comes down to how successful Marquardt is in Bellator. Bellator FC is all-too-often overlooked, and all-too-often it’s thought that any former UFC fighter could walk into Bellator and win a championship. So far, that hasn’t happened. In fact, some of Bellator’s champions have outright schooled former UFC fighters.
For the sake of the argument, let’s assume that Marquardt is able to win a Bellator tournament, either at Middleweight or Welterweight. If that was the case, he’d face either Hector Lombard or Ben Askren. Lombard is 29-2, hasn’t lost since 2006, and has fought to a decision twice in his last fifteen fights. Ben Askren is 8-0 and one of the best pure wrestlers in Bellator and probably the entire world, the exact kind of fighter that Marquardt has had many problems with in the past.
I think there are several interesting fights for Marquardt in Bellator, assuming that he stays clean and his troubles with the athletic commission don’t result in a prolonged suspension. As with anything in today’s MMA world, signing Marquardt would be a calculated risk. But I do think Bellator would benefit from Marquardt on their roster, if only to add prestige to their championships when their champions more than likely beat him.