Last week, UFC President Dana White went off to Ariel Helwani about a current new “era” of fighters turning down fights, suggesting that these individuals are not “real fighters” for doing so. I sympathize with White, because many times I have been left scratching my head when people would turn down short notice fights that seem like easy wins, considering the additional benefit of being in the promotion’s good graces. It’s not like I can turn down a short-notice project at work because I don’t feel like pulling a couple of late nights to get it done. But, such is the life of an employee, as opposed to a (higher paid) independent contractor.
With this in mind, it is clear that Dana White should have a new favorite fighter, who is undoubtedly “real” in this regard. That is Lorenz Larkin of Strikeforce. When it was announced that Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold would not be defending his title against him in January due to an injury, Larkin brought the heat in an interview with MMA Junkie radio.
“I’m not cut from that type of cloth. It’s just a different era of fighters. They’re not built how they used to be.”
Larkin would then go on to suggest that Rockhold is not willing to fight him in Strikeforce because he is trying to protect his spot in the UFC, as the plug is mercilessly pulled on the promotion after this event (allegedly). Although I am not familiar with Rockhold’s MRI results, I have to say I have been quite suspicious of the same thing ever since Rockhold (and even Gil Melendez) dropped out of their Strikeforce fights. Both of these champions had nothing to gain by beating relative unknowns Larkin and Pat Healy. Both had much to lose, however, as a loss heading into the presumed Strikeforce-UFC merger would be disastrous with respect to their immediate place in the UFC ranks.
So where does that leave Lorenz Larkin? He said he would be willing to take another fight on the Strikeforce card in January. But, by the sound of it, he doesn’t care if he’s fighting on Strikeforce, the UFC, or anywhere else, as he is fighting someone at some time. Sounds exactly like the “real fighter” Dana White was yearning for last week.
Hopefully, Dana takes notice of Larkin’s situation and has him on speed dial for the next time a middleweight is needed. And hopefully Larkin doesn’t turn down that fight, because it would un-do all of his recent talk and make this post relatively useless.
I am pretty sure he won’t. After all, there is no doubt in my mind he is a real fighter.