Everyone knew that it wouldn’t take former UFC fighter Nate Marquardt long to find a new job. Now he has one.
Top British promotion BAMMA (British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) has signed Marquardt to begin fighting for the promotion beginning later this year, possibly as soon as September.
BAMMA confirmed the signing to MMAWeekly.com.
Marquardt comes to the promotion with a certain level of baggage following his dismissal from the UFC recently, but he also comes with a load of talent and a lot of notoriety.
The former UFC middleweight contender has faced some of the best competition in the world and holds wins over names like Demian Maia, Martin Kampmann, and Rousimar Palhares, just to name a few.
Marquardt’s fall from grace with the UFC started prior to his last scheduled bout for the promotion at UFC on Versus 4 when he was yanked from the card just minutes before the weigh-ins and promptly released by UFC president Dana White.
Marquardt later stated that hormone replacement therapy that resulted in elevated testosterone levels led to his removal from the card, but despite repeated apologies, the UFC let him go and cut ties with the fighter.
His transgressions that kept him off the UFC on Versus 4 card in June have since been cleared up with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission. Marquardt’s suspension was lifted, freeing him to fight again.
And while some might think that the lack of governmental regulation in the U.K. would be an impetus for Marquardt and his management team signing with BAMMA, in fact, it’s just the opposite. BAMMA has actually been working on implementing its own stringent medical screening and drug testing procedures.
“We’ve been looking into implementing performance enhancing drug testing since the beginning of the year, and looking at the cost implications. We don’t have a board of control (athletic commission) in the U.K.,” BAMMA vice president Liam Fisher told MMAWeekly.com.
“We’d prefer an athletic control board independent of us, but it’s a last resort for us to implement something ourselves.”
Not only will BAMMA be instituting drug testing, but also medical screening. It will take some time to take it as far as they intend, but they plan to start phasing things in at BAMMA 7 on Sept. 10, where they will institute mandatory blood testing for medical purposes and do random PED testing by a WADA certified lab.
BAMMA is footing the bill for everything, which is part of the reason that they won’t be able to jump in immediately with all the measures they’d like to implement, which they hope will eventually include full drug testing and medical screens for all fighters, as well as medical suspensions instituted by a board that includes respected U.K. referee Marc Goddard.
The drug testing isn’t something they decided to do upon the recent decision to go after Marquardt. As Fisher noted, it’s been in the works since well before the former UFC middleweight contender was released by his former employer. BAMMA’s actions, however, did influence Marquardt’s decision.
“Offers came in from several fight promotions, but we felt that BAMMA was definitely the best fit. They put on high-quality shows, stack their cards with top-level fighters, and sign those fighters to multi-fight deals,” said Marquardt. “They are also the only fight organization in the U.K. that implements PED testing. To be honest, that is one of the main reasons that we chose BAMMA. I want to prove to my fans and to the world that I’m the real deal and that I belong on top.”
As Marquardt’s manager, Lex McMahon from Alchemist MMA, told MMAWeekly.com, his fighter is ready to get back in action and work his way back to the top.
“Nate’s path to redemption is going to be an amazing story. When he’s fighting for a championship belt in the very near future, people are going to look back at this and say ‘what an amazing story,’” said McMahon.
“Nate’s ready to go in very short order. He was ready to fight June 26, Nate pointed out yesterday he’s ready to fight today.”
As far as his first fight for the promotion, Marquardt will debut for BAMMA in 2011, but it wasn’t yet clear at the time of publication at which event. MMAWeekly.com will have more information on Marquardt’s BAMMA debut when it becomes available.