Dana White shocked UFC fans when he publicly fired Nate Marquardt on Saturday for failing his pre fight medical exams. The firing of Marquardt turned into one of the biggest weekend mysteries in UFC history with all parties remaining mum on the details of Marquardt’s physical condition.
“Bottom line is, what Nate Marquardt did is bad enough to be cut from the UFC. … I’m disgusted with him. He has no business fighting in the UFC.” – Dana White
Dana White is either an evil genius or one of the most resilient promoters in sports history. A week ago, I don’t even think anyone past hardcore MMA fans knew there was a live a UFC event on Versus on Sunday night. Yet by Saturday night I don’t think there was an MMA fan with an Internet connection that wasn’t aware of the event. Although ironically, it wasn’t the event that anyone was talking about.
Word started leaking out Saturday that Nate Marquardt would not be fighting in his scheduled main-event on Sunday against Rick Story due to some kind of medical condition. That in itself was a huge story. The story turned even bigger when Dana White not only confirmed the news on Saturday afternoon, but fired Nate Marquardt publicly through social media.
“It’s true. He failed his medicals. Not only is he out of this fight, out of the main event on Versus, he will no longer be with the UFC.”
[adinserter block=”1″]It wasn’t even so much that White fired Marquardt, although that was huge. It was the fact that for the first time I can remember a guy missed his scheduled UFC main event 24 hours beforehand and was fired on the spot. Nate Marquardt being that guy just wound up blowing this story up. What in the world could Marquardt have done to get himself fired by the UFC for missing a fight? As of this writing those circumstances are still unknown.
The MMA community went crazy starting on Saturday night with speculation as to what Marquardt could have done to get himself fired. Speculation ranged from the obvious to a positive PED test to Marquardt having some kind of STD. Stories about Marquardt not being able to cut weight was immediately dismissed by several parties close to the situation. So what could this man have done that was so egregious to get himself fired 24 hours before a fight?
The story got a little murkier on Sunday when the Pennsylvania State Athletic commissioner spoke to the media. He said that due to HIPPA laws he could not reveal exactly what it was that prevented Marquardt from getting clearance. However, he did reveal a few very interesting clues about the situation.
On Marquardt’s medical problem, “Everybody knew. I think everybody assumed he was going to be able to qualify.”
“We gave him every opportunity,” Sirb said. “The last report we got was 4 o’clock yesterday. We had given him as much leeway as we could, but obviously, when you’ve got a live event, you’ve got to make a call at that time.”
The PSAC commissioner spoke to MMAWeekly.com where he revealed some more interesting clues.
“Nate has known for probably about a month and a half. He knew the situation. It was no surprise. Everybody (including the UFC) knew. Everybody’s known. I think everybody assumed he was going to be able to qualify,” Sirb said. “I thought he would (qualify); I really did.”
So here are a few things you can take away from this. One, it couldn’t have been a positive PED test. He would not have been able to clear that up so quickly. Two, it wasn’t anything to do with cutting weight. Again, the time line doesn’t make sense. Three, it still could be something like an STD. I don’t know a lot about STDs but I understand from doing some research that you can get rid of some quickly with treatment. Four, it would appear that Dana White is more angry at Marquardt for not clearing up whatever this is rather than the actual act itself.
Nate Marquardt tweeted that he will make a statement Tuesday. Why Tuesday? Why not now? I really don’t understand the delay. The only thing I can think of is that whatever it is, Marquardt wants time to discuss it with his wife and family before making it public.
Dana White addressed the situation the Versus pre-show and appeared to close the door tight on Marquardt ever returning to the UFC.
“I think it’s pretty clear to the fans and everybody else that I’m pretty disgusted with Nate Marquardt. He’s been cut from the UFC, he won’t fight in the UFC ever again,” White said. “Bottom line is, what Nate Marquardt’s thing is, it’s bad enough to be cut from the UFC.”
White continued to say that he couldn’t be the one to reveal the medical issue but did offer Marquardt a piece of advice.
“Nate Marquardt’s gonna have to man up and come out and tell the world why he didn’t pass his medicals,” White said. “When he does that I think everybody is going to understand why he was cut from the UFC.”
[adinserter block=”1″]Lost in this story is the other story about the UFC-Strikeforce merger. Six months ago Marquardt would at least have another opportunity to make a decent living as an MMA fighter in the United States. That isn’t the case today. As great as the UFC-Strikeforce merger is for fans excited to see Nick Diaz vs. Georges St-Pierre, it really sucks for any fighter that finds himself on the wrong side of Dana White. Dana White can literally make or break your career with the snap of his fingers and that kind of leverage isn’t good for anyone.
I am also real disappointed in the MMA media for their lack of investigative reporting here. I would say there are probably about 100 or so paid journalists in the MMA media. Not one has been able or willing to break this story. This comes just a month after nobody got the Diaz vs. GSP story right, and three months after nobody reported even a negotiation between Strikeforce and Zuffa, LLC. I think the MMA media may be the worst in all of sports journalism when it comes to investigative reporting.
With all due respect to Marquardt, I can’t say I am going to miss him. I always found Marquardt to be a fighter that was highly over-hyped and choked in big fights. His style could be boring at times to casual MMA fans, although he would show flashes of brilliance on occasion. Additionally, if the goal with his move to welterweight was to book a GSP vs. Marquardt fight, I think we avoided a big letdown here.
So I will sit here like everyone else pondering about what it is that Nate Marquardt will reveal on Tuesday. I can’t say I feel sorry for him because this is a business and if his ignorance took him out of the main-event of a live broadcast, well then I think the punishment fit the crime. If that is not the case, well then Nate Marquardt will turn into one of the most sympathetic fighters in MMA.
Shop Now at the Official UFC Store