If there was one major question surrounding Tyrone Spong‘s impressive debut on Saturday night after knocking out 37-year old Travis Bartlett, it was why was Tyrone Spong actually fighting Travis Bartlett in the first place?
Bartlett’s 7-2 record heading into the fight seemed reasonable enough considering Spong was making his MMA debut. After only a few seconds into the bout however it was made abundantly clear that Spong was toying with and eventually did knock out the journeyman fighter.
Some have criticized the fight as mismatched despite Spong having no actual MMA experience (he did have over 100 kickboxing bouts however). In reality, any fighter with more than a 0-0 record in MMA would have been a likely candidate for Spong in his debut, but Bartlett was the man who accepted after seven other, more experience candidates said “no thanks” when approached with the offer to face the Dutch striker.
World Series of Fighting vice president and matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz confirmed with MMAWeekly.com that seven different opponents were approached and offered the fight with Spong, and all seven turned down the opportunity until Bartlett was the one who finally said yes.
One name that was confirmed among the list was former UFC light heavyweight Houston Alexander, and Abdel-Aziz said several other recognizable names made up the list of fighters who didn’t want to be Spong’s first test inside the cage.
Alexander was coming off three losses in a row, with the last coming by way of decision in mid-September, so there’s no telling if he really wanted to take the chance of a fourth loss in a row with this one coming by way of a first time MMA competitor like Spong.
Whatever the reasons, Spong was not a popular fighter that many MMA competitors were jumping at the chance to face without knowing what to expect from the knockout artist from Holland.
Now at 1-0 in his career, will Spong still struggle to find opponents or will more names start popping up hoping to hand the former kickboxing champion his first loss?
Spong is expected to be a part of the next World Series of Fighting card in 2013, and MMAWeekly.com will have more details on his opponent when it becomes available.
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