It's hard to fault No. 7-ranked Heavyweight contender Ben Rothwell here. After all, "Big Ben" was scheduled to face the red-hot Stipe Miocic back in October at UFC Fight Night 76, but the Ohio native was bit by the injury bug.
Rothwell, 34, would later take issue with his employer's decision to slot Miocic opposite former 265-pound ruler Andrei Arlovski at the UFC 195 pay-per-view (PPV) earlier this month. Miocic seized the lucrative opportunity, which Rothwell was previously angling for, defeating "The Pit Bull" in 54 seconds.
Then, an injury to ex-Heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez opened the door for Miocic to step in and replace the prolific wrestler in a championship fight against titleholder Fabricio Werdum at UFC 196 on Feb. 6, 2016. Unfortunately for Miocic, "Vai Cavalo" bowed out with injuries to his back and foot.
"As far as him [Miocic] getting that fight, it is what it is. The only thing that upset me was his management, or him whatever, was making shots at Werdum about how they should take his belt and blah, blah, blah. How dare he pull out of this fight and I'm like, 'Whoa, you pulled out of a fight against me for the same thing three months ago.' So I think they should've just not said anything. When he pulled out against me, we talked, made a couple of jokes and I said, 'Hey man, best to you. Hope you get better.' That's it. For Werdum, I think like if he would've just said, 'Man, five hours ago I was fighting this injury and I got really hurt. I absolutely can't fight anybody.' I think that would've been a lot better than him saying, 'Well, I would've fought this guy, but I wouldn't have fought that guy.'"
Werdum isn't the only high profile champion calling their own shots these days.
Call it bad luck, or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Rothwell is rightfully upset, but he will have a chance to let out his frustrations on decorated grappler Josh Barnett in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 18 tonight (Sat., Jan. 30, 2016) in Newark, New Jersey.
Rothwell has been doing quite while for himself of late, having taken out the likes of Matt Mitrione, Alistair Overeem, and Brandon Vera in succession. Barnett, on the other hand, returned after a lengthy hiatus away from mixed martial arts (MMA) competition to beat up Roy Nelson last September.
Should Rothwell be victorious, he better have made strides in the promo department.