Nate Quarry | Sherdog.com
Former UFC middleweight title contender Nate Quarry has been training in mixed martial arts for 14 years and made his professional debut back in September 2001, just three days before the 9/11 attacks. At age 38, with more of his career in the rearview mirror than in front of him, he has taken a long look at life outside of MMA.
“Any pro athlete, regardless of what sport you’re in, is going to have their career come to an end,” Quarry told Sherdog.com. “You can kick and scream about it all you want, but it’s going to happen. Whether you’re 24, 30 or 40 years old, you need to plan for the future and be able to transition successfully into the next phase of your life instead of having to transition reluctantly. I want to be able to transition successfully so I can do my best for myself and my child.”
Towards that end, Quarry has stayed busy with several outside ventures over the past few months. After his second-round knockout loss at the hands of Jorge Rivera -- suffered at UFC Fight Night 21 in March -- Quarry had to undergo major facial surgery for a broken septum, as well as a fractured orbital bone and cheekbone. Recovery time from the surgery was six months, and during that time, Quarry has traveled around the country speaking to people on behalf of NuVasive, a spinal technology company responsible for his back surgery in 2006.
Along with his duties as a spokesperson for NuVasive, Quarry will serve as the host of a new television show called “American Cage Fighter,” which premiered on Comcast SportsNet on Jan. 9.
“I’ve always wanted to do something like [hosting a TV show],” said Quarry, a member of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 cast. “But this show is different because I’m going to be talking to fighters from a fighter’s perspective and letting people see what fighters are really like just before they get ready to fight. Also, I’ll be giving people more of a behind-the-scenes look at fighters and how they prepare, rather than just looking at people in their locker room.”
Quarry also has launched his own clothing line, Zombie Cagefighter, which he hopes to turn into a live action series or movie, as well as a comic book series.
“MMA fans and fighters have been loving the shirts,” said Quarry. “All kinds of people have been asking for the shirts. I’ve got a lot of things going on with that and will be going around the country promoting and selling the shirts, as well as getting the comic book series off the ground.”
As if all those ventures were not enough to keep Quarry busy, he, along with fellow “”The Ultimate Fighter” alumnus Tom Lawlor, is scheduled to go to Asia as part of an Armed Forces Entertainment tour to visit with troops stationed overseas.
“I fight for a living, but, really, I’m an entertainer,” said Quarry, who has nine finishes among his 12 professional MMA victories. “I can tap out anytime and come back to fight another day, but these people who are out here serving our country and are on the front lines, they can’t do that. It’s their job to be out here and be in harm’s way. If visiting with them and signing some autographs for them gives them some comfort, it’s the least I can do.”
With all the extracurricular activities, it would not be hard to lose sight of one’s MMA career. That has not happened to Quarry, at least not yet.
“I’m still training,” said Quarry. “I’ve been training for 14 years. It’s a huge part of my life, and it might always be that way. But there’s still so much to learn, and I’m still trying to learn it. It’s been a tough journey for me, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world because it put me where I am today.”
If he were to never fight again, Quarry would leave behind a solid legacy. A former UFC middleweight title contender, he owns victories over Drew McFedries, Lodune Sincaid, Shonie Carter, Pete Sell (twice), Kalib Starnes, Jason McDonald and Tim Credeur. When Quarry does decide to call it quits as a fighter, his decision will be rooted in family.
“I ran into [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva recently, and he told me to give him a call when I’m ready to fight again,” said Quarry. “I told him I was looking at my future, and he said he understood where I was coming from. To be able to do what I’ve done for as many years as I have makes me a lucky man. Right now, I have to think about my future, my health and my [11-year-old] daughter. The last thing I want to do is make a decision that ends up hurting her, and the way I ended up looking after [the Rivera fight] hurt her. I don’t want to do that again if I can help it.”