Ex-UFC Heavyweight Ben Rothwell Signs with Bare Knuckle FC

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Ben Rothwell UFCBen Rothwell UFC DC weigh-in Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

“Big” Ben Rothwell has a caller warring home, and it won’t beryllium successful the athletics of mixed martial arts.

Rothwell (39-14) had been expected to look Sweden’s Alexander Gustafsson successful an upcoming UFC bout. However, earlier this month, it was confirmed that the 40-year aged from Wisconsin had exited the promotion, aft spending implicit a decennary calling the octagon home.

On Monday, Rothwell’s adjacent endeavor successful combat sports was revealed: he’s the latest UFC prima to motion connected with BKFC, the preeminent bare-knuckle boxing organization.

Promotion officials confirmed the news pursuing an quality by Rothwell connected The MMA Hour connected Monday. “Big” Ben besides shed airy connected what led to his exit from the UFC aft thirteen years.

“So, let’s wide each this up. A batch of people, you know, coming astatine me, UFC chopped me, and what bash they know? The UFC gets to usage their property merchandise that they released me, nary 1 knows why, you perceive talks of USADA, each these things,” said Rothwell.

“The information is, the combat [against Gustafsson] got brought to america successful January, they announced it, determination was each this worldly going on. Me and my manager sat backmost and we were like, ‘well it’s the past combat connected our deal. What comes next, what are we going to do?'”

Rothwell’s absorption team, First Round Management, approached the UFC astir a caller contract, but helium added that “in my mind, I’ve been benignant of seeing the landscape, what’s been going on, my timing, wherever I’m astatine successful the picture. They’ve fto spell of immoderate of the large heavyweights and stuff. Even if I spell retired and execute well, sound retired Gustafsson successful the archetypal round, look great, what’s going to travel next?” The UFC, erstwhile they got backmost to Rothwell, preferred to permission negotiations until aft the last combat connected his deal.

Rothwell and his manager had suspected arsenic much, and knew that adjacent with a win, a caller declaration wasn’t a guarantee. “I didn’t similar that, and we asked for our merchandise successful February.”

The heavyweight has thing but bully things to accidental astir the UFC, however, particularly fixed they granted his release. And BKFC? “They came with the champion offer,” helium stated. And bare-knuckle warring runs successful the family, apparently. “It’s thing I’m a portion of, successful my life. Something my gramps was doing, astir apt not legally, but had a past of it. It’s successful my blood. I’m truly excited to beryllium with them.”

No day has been acceptable for Rothwell’s Bare Knuckle FC debut. He past competed astatine UFC Vegas 42 past November, suffering a decision by TKO astatine the hands of Marcos Rogerio de Lima.