World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation is working to save the main event for its inaugural show after headliner Brennan Ward announced he’s withdrawn from the card.
Ward (14-6 MMA), a former Bellator star, claimed the bare-knuckle promoter “won’t honor the contract that was originated” for a fight with ex-UFC champion Johny Hendricks (18-8 MMA). Ward wrote on Instagram that he “had to decline this fight and do what’s best for me.”
To all my followers:
WBKFF won’t honor the contract that was originated for this fight to happen between me and Johny Hendricks. So for that I had to declide this fight and do what was best for me! All the respect in the world to Big Rig Johny Hendricks and to all my followers I am sorry this all happened last minute. This will NOT be the last time you hear from me!
WBKFF’s first event takes place Friday at the Casper Events Center in Casper, Wyo. The card streams via internet pay-per-view.
WBKFF spokesperson Bob Trieger told MMAjunkie the promotion is speaking with Ward to “straighten whatever the situation is.” Hendricks’ rep, Jason House, said he’s discussing options with the promotion and added Hendricks would like to fight regardless of whether or not Ward proceeds.
“Hopefully we will have some answers soon,” House said in a text message.
Ward’s withdrawal is a big setback for the upstart fight promotion after it generated significant buzz for Friday’s card. The event is set to feature several UFC veterans, including a middleweight bout between Chris Leben and Phil Baroni. It also features the first round of an eight-main lightweight tournament promising a $100,000 payday to the winner.
According to WBKFF president and UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten, the stand-off with Ward might have been set in motion with personnel changes behind the scenes. Rutten told MMAjunkie Radio that the promotion’s original matchmaker – believed to be Paul Tyler – departed last week, leaving negotiated contracts that were “insane amounts of money.”
“I said we’re going to have to renegotiate here, because it’s really crazy what we’re having right now,” Ruten told MMAjunkie Radio this past week.
A request for comment to Tyler was not immediately returned.
Ruten was confident the card would hold up without issue. But the promotion now has two days remaining to preserve its main event.
For more on the upcoming MMA schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.
- Ex-UFC champ Johny Hendricks talks bare-knuckle, wants to hire nutritionist
- UFC 232: Cris Cyborg says Amanda Nunes 'going to pay' for delaying title fight
- Ben Askren credits 'the people' for UFC opportunity; Dana White says 'trade' idea was his
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Brennan Ward pulls out of bare-knuckle fight vs. Johny Hendricks after WBKFF contract dispute