Bellator's Rudy Schaffroth didn't want to fight ex-teammate Tyrell Fortune

Bellator heavyweight Rudy Schaffroth remembers rolling with the Fortune bothers when they were teammates at Clackamas Community College in Oregon.

Schaffroth liked them both. In particular, he thought Tyrell Fortune was a talented athlete and great wrestler. They weren’t close friends, but they shared the bond of wrestling and were also tight with the college’s wrestling coach, Josh Roden.

When Schaffroth (6-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) transferred to a college in Montana, he expected to see Tyrell Fortune again. Sure enough, they eventually crossed paths, and Fortune beat him by a 7-3 score.

That might have been the end of their shared history if not for MMA.

Schaffroth didn’t plan on being a fighter. His dream was to become a professional football player. But that proved harder than expected, so he decided to utilize his wrestling skills to fight. If he couldn’t be a gridiron star, he’d be one in the cage.

“To be under lights in front of a big crowd and have that chance to be on a poster and have people say my name,” he told MMA Junkie of his motivations.

A native of Damascus, Ore., he found his way to the MMA team currently known at ATT Portland. Also at that gym was Tyree Fortune, Tyrell’s twin.

In March, Schaffroth lost a scheduled fight when his opponent withdrew. Bouncing at a local strip club, he wanted to get back in action.

When Bellator offered Tyrell Fortune, he wasn’t happy.

“I would rather it be a bigger fight for a belt,” Schaffroth said of the matchup, which takes place at Bellator 225. “I think Tyrell and I would be show quality for a big show down the road. Big money. That would be my preference, but I don’t get to decide that.”

The feeling appears to be mutual for Fortune (6-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA), who recently vented about not getting marquee opponents and seeing ex-WWE star Jake Hager get prime placement in his debut.

To add to that, Schaffroth believes their old wrestling coach gave Fortune the impression that he asked for the fight. That isn’t true, he said.

“But I’m going to turn down fight,” he added.

Tyrell Fortune, a Portland native, made his professional debut the same year as Schaffroth, who started the sport three years earlier as an amateur.

To keep the awkwardness to a minimum, Schaffroth distanced himself from Tyree Fortune at ATT Portland. Even if he hadn’t, he said, having a twin wouldn’t help him much.

“They’re nothing alike,” Schaffroth said. “I don’t feel like I prepared for Tyrell because I’ve trained with his brother.”

Tyrell Fortune made it as high as No. 3 in the Team USA wrestling rankings before pivoting to MMA. He’s won all six of his fights, finishing four opponents.

Schaffroth is also 6-0 and has finished six opponents, as well as one no-contest. But his style is far different than his old teammate’s. He prefers to charge in and trade punches rather than wrestle.

But Schaffroth anticipates he’ll have to dust off his grappling skills when they meet on Aug. 24 at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. He said his conditioning is better than it’s ever been for a fight.

With their history, Schaffroth said they could have made a great show somewhere down the line. At least then, they’d be compensated handsomely for breaking those early bonds.

And if Matt Mitrione or Sergei Kharitonov are forced to withdraw from Bellator 225, Schaffroth would gladly withdraw to avoid the situation. But if he can’t, he’ll build his resume using Fortune.

“I’m going to go fight this fight and give everything I have, but I would have rather it had been later in the career for more money and closer to a belt, and when I haven’t been in the cage for nine months,” Schaffroth said. “He’s going to be the toughest guy I’ve fought so far. I don’t know if he respects me or not, but I definitely respect him and his ability.”

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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