Former UFC middleweight number one contender Nate Marquardt is running out of options.
After satisfying his short-term suspension with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission (PSAC), stemming from a failed medical exam prior to the UFC on Versus 4 event last month in Pittsburgh, Marquardt was expected to continue flirting with Bellator Fighting Championship in hopes of securing a new employer.
Square peg, meet round hole.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, like most of the mixed martial arts community, was expecting to sign a "Great" fighter for his upcoming summer tournament or even a superfight against one of his top dogs, like middleweight champion Hector Lombard or 170-pound titleholder Ben Askren.
Unfortunately those "options" weren't enough to convince Marquardt to board the S.S. Bellator.
"If I was a gambler, I'd say chances are it probably won't happen," Rebney told MMA Die Hards. "It just doesn't seem like the best fit right now for Bellator and it doesn't seem like the best fit for Nate. I've got wild respect for him. He's a top-ten ranked guy at '85, he's looking to move down to '70, there were a lot of different options that we gave him in terms of potential tournament inclusions in either of those weight classes and-or superfights against Hector Lombard or Ben Askren and I just don't think it's going to come together. He'll find his way somewhere, he's still a talented fighter with a lot of gas in the tank."
Marquardt failed his pre-fight medical exam prior to the UFC on Versus 4 event last month in Pittsburgh, leaving the promotion in a last-minute scramble to find a new main event after the PSAC barred him from participating.
It turns out the testosterone levels in his blood stream were too "Great" to let him compete after multiple blood tests revealed he was not within acceptable ranges for competition.
The spike was blamed on Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), which Marquardt later admitted to using to combat the combined effects of his age and history of professional fighting.
UFC President Dana White booted him from the Zuffa roster after he threw the June 26 fight card into turmoil just 24 hours before it was set to air live on the Versus network. Charlie Brenneman was able to step in on super-short notice to fight Rick Story, but it didn't do anything to preserve Marquardt's employment.
Nevertheless, he's served his suspension. But how soon until we see him fight again? And for which promotion?