Photo by Dave Mandel via Sherdog.com.
Much discussion in the last two weeks has focused on the fall out from the Nate Marquardt situation, but one aspect that hasn't been mentioned much is what the immediate future holds for Marquardt as a fighter. For now at least, he's blacklisted from the UFC, and presumably Strikeforce as well, leaving him with limited options.
Now, reports are that there may be some interest from Bellator in signing Nate. ESPN Insider (subscription required) has the scoop:
ESPN is hearing from a source inside Bellator, who contends the company actually tendered an offer to Marquardt. In addition, reports indicate Bellator was/is interested in having him compete at middleweight.
Interesting to note that they would like Marquardt back at Middleweight instead of Welterweight. Bellator Welterweight champion Ben Askren has already started publicly angling for a possible Marquardt fight, but a Middleweight contest between Nate and Bellator champion Hector Lombard would be of great interest as well.
There are some conflicting reports on this however, as Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney also told ESPN Insider that he was indeed interested in Nate, but claimed that they had not yet had any formal talks or made an offer.
For Bellator, Marquardt would be a signing with large positives and negatives. On the plus side, he's a name fighter and given the current controversy, he would guarantee increased interest in a Bellator event. On the negative side, his reputation has taken a severe hit lately, and many view him as a cheater, while his actions also cost the UFC a main event. Does Bellator want to deal with the PR and potential matchmaking headaches he may cause?
The final question you have to ask regards pay. Marquardt was making in the area of $45,000 - $100,000 a fight in the UFC depending on winning and other bonuses. Is Bellator in a position to offer him a comparable amount? And if not, is Marquardt willing to accept a pay cut? And finally, given the current Zuffa monopoly over the major worldwide MMA organizations, does he even have any other options?