Nate Marquardt is a MMA fighter for hire.
The former top middleweight contender in the UFC had his suspension lifted on Wednesday by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission and now he’s taking offers from several promotions, looking to get back in the cage as soon as possible.
June 25 was certainly a dark day for Marquardt. First, he was removed from the UFC on Versus 4 card after his testosterone levels tested too high following hormone replacement therapy that helped him recover from low testosterone, then UFC President Dana White released him from his contract with the promotion.
Now that Marquardt’s name has been cleared of the suspension in Pennsylvania, he’s ready to put it behind him and get back to business. His business is fighting.
“It’s a positive day when Nate was taken off suspension yesterday, in less than two weeks from the time he was put on suspension. I think that goes a long way to show that he wasn’t trying to deceive anyone, he was disclosing everything all along the way. I think the commission recognized that, which is why they let him off without a fine and they let him off suspension in less than two weeks,” Marquardt’s manager Lex McMahon from Alchemist Management told MMAWeekly.com on Thursday.
“Certainly he’s looking to fight some of the top fighters in the world, particularly he addressed Hektor Lombard and Ben Askren and B.J. Penn and Paul Daley, and there are some great fights there. He in particular selected those fighters because they disrespected him publicly while he was going through a difficult time. Nate’s never been someone whose done that to anyone else while they were down. I think he took a great deal of offense to that, and we’d love any of those fights, any time, anywhere.”
Several fighters that McMahon named came after Marquardt publicly through interviews, social networking and other formats to attack the Grudge team fighter for his testosterone therapy, calling him everything from dirty to a cheater to a liar and worse.
Those names have been etched in Marquardt’s mind ever since and he’s not soon going to forget any of them.
The first order of business for now however is finding Marquardt a new fight home. McMahon was in negotiations with Bellator Fighting Championships until recently when the talks broke down and a deal couldn’t be reached.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said in an interview with MMAJunkie.com on Thursday that Marquardt ‘just isn’t a good fit’ for them right now.
For his part, Marquardt’s manager isn’t really sure what Rebney meant when he said that because he believes his fighter is going to be an asset for any promotion that hires him on right now.
“Regarding the idea of Nate not being a fit at this time, I’m not sure what not being a fit means? Nate is a top 5 fighter in the world, certainly he went through a difficult period, but the fact that he was cleared from his suspension in less than three weeks and not fined, shows a tremendous amount about who Nate is as a person, and what his conduct really was,” McMahon stated.
“I just fail to see how when a fighter of that caliber comes available, when you’ve got programming that’s on the MTV networks where they’re looking for content to counter program the UFC, I just find it hard that Nate’s not a right fit for them.”
Rebney did reference possible super fight scenarios that Marquardt could fit into with their company facing names like Lombard or Askren in non-title fights, but McMahon states that option was never even offered when they negotiated with Bellator.
“Bjorn’s (Rebney) indicated that there’s opportunities for super fights, frankly that’s something that we’d love to see, and he didn’t put that on the table. If that’s something Bjorn wants, I suggest we sit back down and have a discussion about super fights. Nate is very interested in fighting Hektor Lombard or Ben Askren, or both,” McMahon commented.
“We weren’t afforded the discussion to talk about super fights, and it’s one that makes a great deal of sense to all concerned. It will be some of the best ratings Bellator has ever enjoyed.”
Like anything else in negotiations, both parties tend to keep their cards close to their chests, but there’s no denying that many times when contracts like this come into play, money is almost always at the heart of the discussion.
Alchemist’s leading manager didn’t want to go into specifics regarding the details surrounding his conversations with Bellator or Bjorn Rebney, but somewhere along the line, the right figures were not being met.
“I do want to respect the process of the negotiations and not get into the details, but ultimately what I think it boils down to is Nate’s one of the best fighters in the world, if you want him to be part of the organization for the long term, then he needs to be compensated for that. I think Bjorn and his team made an excellent effort, but we’re not there,” said McMahon.
And as far as the statement that Marquardt ‘isnt’ the right fit’, well McMahon knows that’s simply not true.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Bellator and Bjorn Rebney, but let’s be honest, Nate Marquardt’s the right fit for any organization he’s in,” McMahon stated.
“Nate Marquardt’s ready to fight, we’re looking for the right partner and anyone that’s talking about super fight opportunities, let’s sit down and have a discussion. To come out and say that Nate Marquardt’s not the right fit, just makes no sense to me.”
Where Marquardt will end up landing is still up in the air at this point. McMahon says that they are fielding offers from all over the globe and Marquardt is open to fights overseas or in North America, wherever the best opportunity presents itself.
Watching the trials and tribulations Marquardt has gone through over the last month have made him the subject of a lot of adoration from fans and a fair amount of scorn and scrutiny as well. McMahon is confident however that wherever his client lands, Marquardt’s story will be told and he will have a smile on his face.
“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.”