Well this is interesting. MMAJunkie is reporting that Bjorn Rebney has confirmed talks with Marquardt and his management, but that there is no deal in place. With all the speculation and assumptions and begging and threats and promises and retorts that have been going around, it seemed like Nate the Great was headed to the BFC to lock horns with at least one of their champions.
So what happened? Let’s hear it from the man in black himself:
“Nate’s situation was pretty unique. It’s an anomaly for a guy like that to become available, so we had discussions. But it just became pretty clear it wasn’t the right fit.”
Wait, so, a week ago, Bellator was interested, but now, it’s just doesn’t feel right?
Very interesting, indeed. Let us read in between the lines for a bit, if we may.
Marquardt is still active on Twitter, where a hashtag and a dedicated Twitter account are currently working to having Nate reinstated in the UFC. Facebook is covered too. He’s openly hoping for a return to the big time, saying nice things about Dana and responding to fans’ comments, whether they’re supportive or not.
Bellator has shown willingness to pay their top names well, so pay was likely not the stumbling block. Based on what we’ve heard from other fighters in the past year, Rebney and company were probably looking to lock Nate up with an extended contract. After all, if Nate comes over and does one of those superfights where he fights the current champ but not for the title, then he beats the champ but doesn’t take the belt, and then he bounces back to the UFC in nine months… that’s just hurting the Bellator brand. They’d no doubt want to set him up in a tournament, give him a title shot, and then keep him around as either a champion or a titan in their rankings for as long as possible.
And likely, Nate isn’t interested in a long-term relationship. As soon as Dana changes his mind, Nate wants to be able to drop everything and head back home. The question becomes, then, how long do you wait for the call? We all know how well Twitter campaigns work on the Baldfather, and how easy-going and forgiving he is.
Like we said …very interesting. We’ll keep you posted.