Nate Marquardt was cut loose by UFC less than a month ago after he withdrew one day before a scheduled main event against Rick Story, after a New Jersey State Athletic Control Board blood test revealed elevated levels of testosterone, which Marquardt attributed to hormone replacement therapy.
Now Marquardt has signed a multi-fight, worldwide exclusive promotional deal with the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts, BAMMA vice president Liam Fisher told ESPN.com.
Fisher declined to disclose the financial terms, but said the deal is among the most lucrative BAMMA has made with a fighter since it joined the UK MMA scene in 2009.
Neither the date nor an opponent have been confirmed for Marquardt's BAMMA debut, which could come as soon as the promotion's next event, September 10,
Paul Daley, who will fight for Strikeforce on July 30 against Tyron Woodley, is also under contract to BAMMA.Marquardt vs. Daley is arguably the highest profile contest BAMMA could promote. Fisher, citing several factors, would not commit to making the bout at this time.
"I'm very excited to be working with BAMMA," Marquardt said. "They hold sports regulation in high regard and mandate it for their athletes. They are also known for signing top-level fighters and I want to fight the best. I can't wait to show everyone what I'm capable of in the welterweight division."
Unrelated to the Marquardt signing, BAMMA has taken steps to get in front of the PED and medical testing issue, Fisher said. BAMMA has implemented and will cover the cost of blood work, MRI exams and medical screenings for its fighters. The company has also recently introduced mandatory performance-enhancing drug screens for title fights, as well as random pre- and post-event tests.
Bellator Fighting Championship and ProElite, showed interest in Marquardt when he became available. But Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said his organization was "not the best fit for Nate." And ProElite opted against making a big splash in the free agent market, a source said.