Ever since it was announced that Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney was interested in Nate Marquardt, there’s been a bit of a debate on whether or not Bellator should really sign the former UFC Middleweight Championship contender that quickly became the central point of one of the biggest MMA controversies of the year. Multiple Bellator fighters, including Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard, have vocally called out Marquardt. However, it now appears that Bellator won’t be able to sign Nate “The Great” after all. Here are all the details.

First up, here are some very fiery quotes by Lombard that’s been compiled by MixedMartialArts.com: “I think [Marquardt] is a cheater, but [against] me, he can take all the drugs he wants. I’m going to whoop his ass anyway”¦ There’s no excuses anymore. Don’t say you’ve got a contract with the UFC because he doesn’t have it. He can take the fight and prove everybody wrong.”

However, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney recently spoke to MMA Junkie and gave an important update on the situation, saying the following: “Nate's situation was pretty unique. It's an anomaly for a guy like that to become available, so we had discussions. But it just became pretty clear it wasn't the right fit”¦ We have so much going on right now”¦ If Nate had been available a few months back, maybe things would be different.”

I think it’s really interesting that Bellator has decided, at least for now, to not sign Nate Marquardt. For both the promotion and the person, this bit of news leaves me with a slew of questions.

For Bellator: was it really smart to pass up on this sort of opportunity? Why couldn’t you find a way to fit in a guy that’s still widely ranked as at or near the top of the division? Did the fact that some cynics call Bellator a promotion filled with “UFC rejects” have anything to do with this decision, or is that just a coincidence? Did Marquardt make too many demands? And couldn’t you at least have given him Hector Lombard in a non-title super-fight?

For Nate Marquardt: what happens now? Bellator was definitely the only viable, major US promotion left to you now that Strikeforce is owned by Zuffa, so I would have thought that you would have done whatever it took to secure a spot. Was it just that Bellator isn’t a big enough promotion? And where do you go from here? Japan’s MMA scene is a fraction of what it once was, while the UK can only boast BAMMA as a promotion that could likely afford to pay you.

Now that I think about it, and now that I know it won’t be happening, I think I actually would have liked to see Nate Marquardt in Bellator. In particular, I’d have really liked to see him fight both Ben Askren and Hector Lombard. I don’t think he would’ve beaten them, but seeing him try would have made for some entertaining minutes.

To be brutally honest, now that Bellator is not an option I think Marquardt has just joined the likes of Houston Alexander, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, and a host of other UFC wash-outs that make a living on smaller barely-promoted shows while virtually vanishing from the mainstream MMA landscape. That may not be the scenario that ends up playing out, but it’s certainly the one that seems most likely right now.

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