Shortly before today's weigh-in for UFC Live 4 - Marquardt vs. Story, which was scheduled for 4 p.m. EST, UFC president Dana White posted a video on his official Twitter account stating that he has fired main event fighter Nate Marquardt.
"He failed his medicals. Not only is he out of this fight and out of the main event on Versus, he will no longer be with the UFC,” stated the unhappy UFC boss.
Marquardt's bout against Story was going to be his debut in the UFC welterweight division (170-pounds), after competing in the top-tier of the UFC middleweight division (185-pounds) for the past 6 years. In that time, he had gone 10-4 and challenged unsuccessfully for UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva's title in July 2007, which he lost via TKO in the first round.
After losing a title-shot eliminator bout against Yushin Okami at UFC 122 last November, Marquardt got back to his winning ways with a unanimous decision victory over Dan Miller at UFC 128 in March. Marquardt then surprisingly decided to make a move to welterweight, even though he was still considered a Top 10 middleweight in many media outlet's rankings.
Many consider Marquardt a true middleweight and his move to weltweight, after beating another highly ranked 185-pounder (Miller), left many wondering how Marquardt's body would adjust to the big 15-pound weight cut. Marquardt consistantly responded to these inquiries with the impression that the new weight was relatively easy for him to make and he was feeling better than ever.
While it's still unknown on the specifics surrounding Marquardt's failed medicals and it is unfair to speculate, this is not the first time Marquardt has been subject to controversy in the UFC. After his UFC debut in August 2005, there was a post-fight drug testing controversy that led to Marquardt's suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), after he had tested positive for high levels of nandrolone. Marquardt was initially suspended for 6 months, but that was later reduced to 5 months and he was reinstated in January 2006. He maintains that he only used over-the-counter supplements in preparation for that fight.
Marquardt will be replaced by local up-and-coming UFC veteran Charlie Brenneman. Brenneman grew up in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania and was a Division I wrestling standout at Lock Haven University in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. Brenneman is 2-1 in the UFC, after making his promotional debut in March 2010. Brenneman was previously scheduled to fight T.J. Grant on the undercard of this event, but Grant had to pull out due to illness earlier in the week and the fight was scrapped.
Now the bout between two of the UFC's best heavyweight strikers Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry will headline the event and Story will face Brenneman on the main card. UFC Live 4 - Kongo vs. Barry will be televised live on Versus, Sunday, June 26, 2011 from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.