A look at all the drama behind Tywan Claxton vs. Chris Lencioni at Bellator 204

Bellator featherweight Chris Lencioni said he had to weigh 165 pounds today to fight Tywan Claxton at Bellator 204.

It’s a number that came with a fight behind the scenes. Claxton doesn’t regret imposing it.

“If you’re not going to make weight, you’re going to pay,” Claxton (2-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) told MMAjunkie in advance of the fight, which leads the Paramount-televised main card today at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

It all started 30 minutes prior to the official weigh-ins for Bellator 204 on Thursday morning. Claxton, 25, said he was told Lencioni (4-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), 24, wasn’t going to make weight and asked for a catchweight. He was dismayed.

“For him to give up and say I’m not going to try, that’s unacceptable,” Claxton said.

Claxton initially wanted 30 percent of Lencioni’s purse. Lencioni balked and agreed to try cutting more weight. He wound up at 148.4 pounds, or 2.4 pounds over the limit for a non-title featherweight bout, at the official weigh-ins.

Claxton and his manager, Janus Sports President Kyle Stoltz – who also happens to be Lencioni’s former manager – took 20 percent of Lencioni’s show purse, the amount they say is mandated by contract.

They also took further steps to keep Lencioni’s weight in check. They added the fight-day weight stipulation that Lencioni would forfeit an additional 10 percent of his purse if he weighed over a certain amount.

Lencioni said that mark was 165 pounds, while Stoltz said it was 154 pounds.

Lencioni, nicknamed “Sunshine,” ultimately undershot the mark, coming in at 160 pounds.

Even without fists flying, the affair has been dramatic.

For Claxton, the extra requirements are a way to send the message that Lencioni can’t flout an advantage in the cage. He sees his opponent as an unprofessional attention-seeker that needs to be taught a lesson.

“In my mind, I just know now that you’re breakable. You broke during the weight cut, you’re going to break during the fight,” Claxton said.

Lencioni, meanwhile, is convinced Stoltz is behind the additional requirements. He claims Stoltz “super ripped me off” and kept all the money from his previous two Bellator fights while also trying to take his fee from another sponsor.

“It’s all my old manager,” Lencioni said. “My old manager is trying to (expletive) me.”

Stoltz counters that his former client is an unfocused athlete who likes to create his own drama. He denies stiffing Lencioni out of any money.

“This is what he does – he creates chaos,” Stoltz said. “And this is why we in the business had to walk away from him, because he’s a person that creates chaos more than focuses on his fighting career.”

Lencioni will admit to his mistake on the scale but explains that he took the bout on three weeks’ notice. He’s getting married soon and recently opened up a gym.

“I (expletive) up,” he said. “It happens. Also, three weeks’ notice, I cut 32 pounds. So that’s pretty (expletive) good.”

A self-admitted pot-stirrer, Lencioni thinks the hype bestowed on Claxton for a highlight-reel knockout is unjustified, and he wants to prove he’s the real prospect. Claxton is eager to defend his reputation and move up in the division. They’ve repeatedly sparred on social media.

When they faced off for the ceremonial weigh-ins, they nearly got physical. Claxton offered a grim promise for Lencioni, who raised his arms and seemed to enjoy the open confrontation.

“He doesn’t want to fight, dude,” Lencioni said later. “One-hundred percent. He said three times in front of all the fighters, ‘I’ll just take my money and go home. I don’t have to fight you.’ I was like, ‘Dude, that’s embarrassing. We’re here to fight.’”

Now that his opponent has agreed to his terms, Claxton has no problem with that. He’s eager to get past this chaos.

“After tomorrow, you’ll never hear the word ‘Sunshine’ out of my mouth again,” he said. “I’ll tell you that much.”

For more on Bellator 204, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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