ONE welterweight champion and boisterous mixed martial arts (MMA) personality Ben Askren 14-0-(1) is evidently unhappy with the way his first title defense went against Luis "Sapo" Santos (61-9-1-1) last April.
And he has even more reason to be angry after the Brazilian left him, his ONE CEO and boss Victor Cui and fans in attendance -- as well as globally -- disappointed for his failure to make weight on time, which led to their fight being scrapped altogether.
Early Friday morning (Nov. 13, 2015), the ex-Olympic wrestling standout promised a video explanation later in the evening.
Gonna post a video tomorrow night US time, you guys aren't even gonna believe this story.— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) November 13, 2015
In the above video, which was released this afternoon, Askren detailed unsportsmanlike behavior from the American Top Team (ATT) fighter leading up to the weigh-in, as well as some peculiar behavior over a few months ago.
An excerpt from the video posted to Askren's Facebook page:
"This jabroni fakes an eye poke; we all know he did it. So I said, 'Let's fight again.' So ONE FC asks him, 'Let's fight in June?' I say, 'Let's fight in June.' He says, 'No, my eye.' ONE offers him a fight in July. He says, 'No, I can't my eye.' I say, 'Okay, fine.' They said September; I say, 'Okay, let's fight in September.' He says, 'No, I don't want to fight in September.' Meanwhile, I get a message from the Titan [FC] person that he's asking for a fight in TItan. I actually have a screen shot of him saying, 'No, I don't have a contract with ONE. It's only in Asia.' So he's just totally lying. We finally get him to accept a fight in November and this is where things get really interesting... Everyone sees him eating breakfast and he's got about 20 pounds to cut. We get to weigh ins and I make weight like a pro. He's nowhere to be found. He shows up 15 minutes late. I think when he got on the scale he somewhere around 4.5 pounds overweight. I say, 'I want it to bet a title fight. He can as long as he wants to cut weight. Just make weight.' After about three hours, I think he got down to about 2.2 pounds over and he says, 'No more.' I sit down with the ONE brass and his coaches come down to meet us and they say sorry about this and I say, 'Okay well, let's fight, but I want him to make 185 pounds tomorrow. And they say, 'That's fine, that's more than fair.' I leave to go do some media and about two hours later, I get a call and they tell me 'Sapo cannot control his weight gain and will not be able to make 185.' So I say, 'Give him 190.' He realizes he has no other options, so he says 'I'll make 190.' I wake up and get a text from my buddy and he's watching Sapo eat breakfast -- eating multiple plates. We figure he's fine. He ended up being at breakfast for 90 minutes; we're all watching him eat... [Sapo was transported to the hospital by his camp for a possible IV along with a ONE representative] They do kidney tests, blood tests, liver tests -- everything. Everything comes back normal; the doctor says your fine and you don't need an IV. Sends him back. Now this is 1:30; remember he's supposed to weigh in at 1:00. He needed to cut three pounds after gaining 22 pounds back. He says he's not going to attempt to cut the weight. They [ONE brass] come and tell me that and by the time they went and tried to find him again he allegedly went back to the hospital to get an IV."
Hospital trips have been a recurring theme in MMA of late as fighter diets continue to come into question. This is the first time Santos has failed to make weight for a fight.
As you can see, this has been quite the roller coaster of events. It couldn't have come at a worse time as he was set to compete for Askren's 170-pound strap once again after their first tussle was marred in controversy.
"Funky" was foiled early in their "Valor of Champions" main event inside Mall of Asia arena in Pasay, Philippines back in April. He ate some hard kicks and knees when Santos wouldn't budge on multiple takedown attempts, before an eye poke put a stop to what was looking like a thoroughly competitive tilt.
The Roufusport product was looking forward to putting a stamp on that chapter in his MMA career, telling MMAmania.com that much just two weeks before his clash with Santos inside Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.
"[I'm] not doing too much differently. What I was doing in the first fight, although it didn't work out in the first few minutes, I think it was going to work out over time. I'm just getting down to business, training hard and making it happen," Askren told MMAmania.com.
For complete results of the entire ONE: "Pride of Lions" fight card, click here. For James Goyder's discussion with Ben click here.