by Ryan Bennett – MMAWeekly.com
Mark Kerr was scheduled to return to MMA this past weekend at the ACF show in Denver, Colorado. Kerr was supposed to headline the event, facing Wes Sims for the vacant ACF Heavyweight Title, in what would have been Kerr’s first MMA fight since 2004 and just his second MMA fight since 2001.
Instead, Kerr informed the promoters during the second fight of the evening that he wouldn’t be fighting. Why?
Kerr claimed that he had a broken hand, which is something that the ACF said was not brought to their attention until after the event was underway. Kerr apparently made the ACF aware earlier in the week that he had suffered a minor hand injury, but he reassured them at the time that it was “no big deal” and that he had fought on numerous occasions in the past with minor injuries.
Kerr showed up for weigh-ins on Friday night with tape on a couple of his fingers, but did not complain about his hand at all. Kerr weighed-in as scheduled and didn’t remove his shirt during the entire weigh-in process. Kerr weighed 222 pounds, which is far less than he weighed for his previous MMA fights.
On Saturday, the day of the event, Kerr arrived late to the venue. He showed up with his cornermen and his own doctor, and initially said that he was ready to fight. There are conflicting reports regarding what led to Kerr’s final decision to pull out of the fight.
In addition to Kerr’s own doctor that he brought with him, there were two official doctors in attendance at the event. Kerr informed the promoters after the event had started that he couldn’t fight. The event had already started, and it was during the second fight of the card that Kerr told the promoters he wouldn’t be able to fight.
Early into the show, the ring announcer started to announce that the main event was off, but that was stopped by ACF officials. Instead, the CEO of the ACF, Rico Vecc, went into the ring with Mark Kerr and Wes Sims, and Kerr announced to the crowd that he would be unable to fight.
Kerr told the crowd that he had injured his hand and had attempted unsuccessfully to get clearance from three different doctors, even though the two doctors from the ACF were never asked to examine Kerr’s hand.
After Kerr made his announcement to the crowd, Sims started firing verbal arrows at Kerr. As Kerr simply stared back, Sims taunted Kerr by saying things like, “This is the end of The Smashing Machine, just not the way I wanted.”
There are reports that Kerr’s initial medical check showed some minor concern for his injured hand, but still concluded that he could fight if he wanted to fight; and that the decision on whether or not to fight was ultimately left up to Kerr; and that he evidently went back and forth on that decision. But in the end, Kerr made the announcement in the ring that he wouldn’t be fighting because he couldn’t get medical clearance on his injured hand.
Wes Sims doesn’t buy that. “He changed his mind three different times during the event,” Sims told MMAWeekly on Sunday night. “He said he was going to fight, then he chickened out. I trained for three months for this fight. Everyone is banged up. He could have fought, but right before fight time he pussed out.”
Phone calls to Mark Kerr were not returned to MMAWeekly as of Sunday night. Kerr was apparently given his pay for the ACF fight before the event took place, and it’s unknown what his future might hold.
Sims told MMAWeekly that Kerr has signed with the IFL to be one of their coaches, and also mentioned that Kerr actually asked Sims to be on his IFL team. Sims said that after the events of this weekend, there is “no way in hell” he would ever fight for a guy like Kerr.
Sims wants to clear the air on exactly what happened backstage and will do so today on MMAWeekly Radio with Ryan Bennett and Frank Trigg at 9am Pacific/12 noon at www.mmaweeklyradio.com