Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren wasted no time in calling out fired UFC fighter Nate Marquardt today. Askren tweeted shortly after Marquardt admitted that issues with his use of Testosterone Replacement Therepy caused his failure to be cleared to fight for UFC on Versus 4.
Here’s Askren’s tweet:
@nathanmarquardt you are a cheater, not once but frequently. Stop cheating, come to bellator and I will crush you. @bjornrebney
Some will no doubt view this crass opportunism in a negative light, but it’s genius fight promotion on Askren’s part. Marquardt is the big story in MMA currently and was scheduled to make his welterweight debut in the UFC on Saturday. Now that UFC President Dana White has cut Marquardt, Nate the Great is suddenly by far the highest profile free agent in the division.
It’s no secret that Bellator has a hard time finding quality, high profile opponents for its champions. Marquardt, should he sort out his licensing issues, would be both high quality and high profile. In fact, Askren — an Olympic wrestler with a developing MMA game — could very well be biting off more than he can chew in challenging Marquardt.
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