Shark Fights 21: Bobby Lashley gets a new opponent ... again

Photo of Bobby Lashley via ESPN.com

Wait for it, wait for it...

Bobby Lashley has experienced yet another opponent change for his upcoming bout at Shark Fights 21 in Lubbock, Texas, bringing his running total to four opponent switches for the former Strikeforce heavyweight.

After Darrill Schoonover and Dave Huckaba withdrew from the fight, last minute replacement Mark Martinez stepped in on short notice just yesterday. However, according to a press release the promotion released this evening, the Texas Departement of Licensing and Regulations would not allow "Big Bully" to compete because of expired blood work.

Have no fear: Karl Knothe is here!

The Texas-based promotion scrambled to get "The Original Son of Punishment"  to agree to take the fight on just three days notice. According to Knothe's manager, Gavin Rydell, Knothe was eager to step up to the plate as it seems that the two heavyweights have somewhat of a history.

Believe it or not:

"Karl's been wanting to fight Bobby Lashley for a while. He has had some offers before to fight Bobby, but it always fell apart. Karl is excited that not only does he get to fight Bobby Lashley, but it's also for the Shark heavyweight title. Karl is in great shape and ready to fight. He's been training hard for a boxing match this weekend, but jumped at the opportunity to fight for Shark Fights. He only took the the boxing match to stay fresh because no one wanted to fight him in MMA. Karl is ready to bring the belt back to Minnesota."

Knothe is currently riding a 12-fight win streak that dates all the way back to 2007, but has not seen action in almost a year.

As unfortunate as the circumstances have been for Shark Fights to have to find an opponent for Lashley because of all the fallouts, one has to give the organization credit for scrambling to find willing replacements on such short notice.

Hopefully this one sticks.

Knothe was recently booked to fight Ricco Rodriguez at Shark Fights 17; however, because of miscommunication, the two particpants could not agree on a catchweight. As a results, Knothe spent two hours trying to cut 20 pounds, however, the commission put a halt to the process, deeming it too dangerous to continue any further.

According to Shark Fights executive, Wes Nolen, Lashley has been very cooperative throughout the whole ordeal:

"I want to thank Bobby Lashley for all his patience.  After three opponent changes, it would have been very easy for Bobby to call of the fight, but he is a true fighter that accepted any and all opponents we put in front of him. He had never once complained and continues to train hard."

If Knothe and Lashley can find a way to make it to Lubbock, Texas, by Fri., Nov. 11, 2011, hiccup-free, the fight will be for the first-ever Shark Fights heavyweight belt.

For more on Shark Fights 21, including the latest fight card updates, as well as all the news and notes you can handle, be sure to check out our complete archive right here.

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