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Nate Quarry Makes the Transition From Fighter to Broadcaster

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Former UFC fighter Nate Quarry is now the co-host of MMA Uncensored Live on Spike TV.

Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

When Spike TV first got into the mixed martial arts game, Nate Quarry was a part of it, as a contestant on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Seven years and a 10-fight UFC career later, Quarry is back on Spike this week as one of the hosts of MMA Uncensored Live, Spike's new studio show, which premieres on Thursday at 11 p.m.

Quarry said it never even crossed his mind when he started fighting in a cage that he could actually become a professional broadcaster, and he said making any kind of a living at all "is beyond a dream come true." What Quarry says viewers will see from him is as simple as one former fighter discussing his passion for MMA.

"It's something I enjoy doing," Quarry said. "I had a small show on the West Coast, American Cage Fighter, on Comcast Sports Net, and I enjoyed doing that, sitting around with other fighters and talking about the game."

As a new and still relatively small sport, MMA hasn't had many opportunities for former athletes to make a living in broadcasting the way former players in the NFL or NBA or Major League Baseball can. But Quarry thinks he can be a trailblazer on that front, and he also thinks his background is going to make him a strong interviewer who isn't afraid to ask tough questions.

"Most journalists are coming from a position of being fans and having watched the sport, but I'm coming from a position of being a fighter and I know what it's like," Quarry said. "I can ask Anthony Johnson why he can't make weight and it's not disrespectful because I've made weight every time I've fought."

Quarry didn't go to school to learn to become a broadcaster, but he says he learned public speaking in a surprising way: His upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness. Quarry left the religion as an adult but the emphasis the Jehovah's Witnesses place on every member being a preacher helps Quarry to this day.

"My formal training has been that I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness as a child, from birth until about 20 years of age or so," Quarry said. "They have kids who do Bible readings or little talks at the church. From the age of 7 I was doing a Bible reading, taking a chapter of the Bible and reading a few verses of it and then talking about it, and then when you're done you're critiqued on it and told how well you spoke. So from a very young age I worked on this."

Spike TV had a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the UFC, but that relationship has come to an end, and the network and the UFC have butted heads more recently. Quarry said he isn't sure whether the UFC will allow MMA Uncensored Live to show highlights, or whether the UFC will encourage its fighters to appear on the show, but Quarry himself makes clear that he remains a UFC fan.

"I hope the UFC will see what a great show MMA Uncensored Live is and they're going to want to work with us, give us their footage, send their fighters to talk to us because it's good exposure and we're doing a phenomenal job of getting the word out there and getting people interested in the fighters, so it benefits everyone," Quarry said. "I don't know the relationship with Spike, but I know we at MMA Uncensored aren't battling anybody, we're not counter-programming any of the shows. The UFC is the biggest game in town and we'll be talking about the UFC."

Quarry describes the show as an unscripted conversation, "as if you're hanging out with three of your buddies talking about the upcoming card and who you think is going to win." Spike is joining a crowded space, alongside HDNet's Inside MMA, ESPN2's MMA Live and FUEL's UFC Tonight and UFC Ultimate Insider, but Quarry said he thinks there's room for everyone.

"I think HDNet with Bas Rutten has always been the gold standard because Bas has been around fighting forever and he's a great personality, and I like other fighters I've seen doing jobs like this like Kenny Florian," Quarry said. "If we get good ratings that doesn't mean Bas Rutten is going to be homeless because nobody is tuning into his show. I think there's room for all these shows to be successful."