Seven Different Opponents Turned Down Fight Against Tyrone Spong at WSOF 1

November 5, 2012
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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 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 will have more details on his opponent when it becomes available.

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  • Bellator needs to scoop this guy up quick.

    • oface

      Yeah king mo, gregard moussasi (I know I butchered his name), Rafael calvacante are all fights I would like to see. Sponge is a freak athlete who is going to transition well to mma.

      • Mark McDowall

        He would destroy King Mo if he learned a little bit of take down defense…Gregard Moussasi (sp?) would be a good one…I think he would run through Belator very easily…205 isn’t their strongest division by far.

        • V

          He would not destroy Mo?…. Mo beat Moussasi but Moussasi would be a good one? No and No again…

          • Mark McDowall

            He laid on Moussasi for 15 minutes, barely did any damage to him. It was a horrible fight…

        • Timothy Malone

          205 used to be their weakest division but I think that has changed with new signings. You forgot Renato Sobral is in there now as well.

        • I love Sprong now. But Mo is a world class wrestler. Mo defintly losses the stand up by far but Sprongs lossses will come all to wrestlers IMO. Im sure hes working hard on TDD but if a guy like that wants the takedown hes going to get it. Would be a classic matchup of styles though.

      • Nobama

        you aint just gonna train for about a year and just man handle all american wrestlers bubba, he will get put on his ass at some point in a fight and not just in the gym which im sure rashad has put em on his ass a few times there anyway. but thats by no means saying dude is sorry or wont make it or whatever but the way you make it seems is he is just gonna jump out the cradle with out of this world tdd and be able to keep any fight standing.

  • Drock420

    Put him against Renato “Babalu” Sobral in bellator would be a good fight. & to say he would run through any of those fighters you guys mentioned is a pretty bold statement considering he hasn’t been tested yet in MMA. No offence to Travis Bartlett but that’s only a win over a bum, which is fine since its his debut in MMA it wouldn’t make sense for him to debut against a MMA vet, or someone with a name.

  • ME

    So who are the other 6 that turned it down? why give Houstons name but not the rest