MMAWeekly.com, photo courtesy of K-1
It has been a strange year for fans of the fight game. There have been plenty of upsets, and now we may see another trend emerging: Fighters pulling out of events after the event has already started. That scenario just played out for the second consecutive week.
Last week, it was Mark Kerr pulling out of an ACF event due to a supposed hand injury. This time, it was Bob Sapp pulling out in the middle of a K-1 event due to a contract dispute.
At the K-1 card in Amsterdam, Holland, Sapp was introduced to the crowd in the opening ceremonies along with all of the other fighters. Four fights into the card, Sapp was seen by many spectators in attendance (two of whom e-mailed MMAWeekly detailed eyewitness accounts) yelling at K-1 management during Semmy Schilt’s fight, apparently over a contract dispute.
According to the eyewitness account of Stephan Ambrizi in the first few rows of seats, Sapp was yelling at what appeared to be K-1 management during the fight. Sapp could be heard yelling, “It’s your fault, not mine!” as he walked away from ringside about one hour before his scheduled fight with Ernesto Hoost.
K-1 had to scramble to replace Sapp on the card, and did so by pulling three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion Peter Aerts off of the American broadcast team and asking him literally as the event was taking place if he would fight Ernesto Hoost.
Aerts stepped up and agreed to take the fight on 30 minutes’ notice. Aerts did not have any fight trunks with him, as he thought he was only going to the event to be a color commentator.
When Aerts left the broadcast booth in his gray suit, he asked Semmy Schilt if he could borrow his fighting trunks. (Aerts actually defeated Schilt via decision in a K-1 fight in March.) So, in a bizarre scene, Peter Aerts actually fought with the text “Semmy Schilt” on the front of his trunks and “Golden Glory” on the back of his trunks.
In the end, Hoost defeated Aerts by judges’ decision, but Aerts earned even more respect than he already had from everyone in attendance for taking a fight under those circumstances.
Afterwards, Hoost said that he had just fought for the last time in Holland, as he nears retirement. Hoost also blasted Sapp, saying that he had never seen anything like this happen to him before a fight. Hoost also said it was a shame that his last fight in his home country went down like this.
Sapp left the arena visibly upset and had no comment to fans who tried to ask him what was going on. It was a strange finish to a bizarre night at the K-1 Amersterdam Tournament, which was won by Bjorn Bregy.