Ben Rothwell explained what led to his release from the UFC and how he ended up at Bare Knuckle FC (BKFC).
Rothwell was expected to fight Alexander Gustafsson this year. That was until Rothwell was released by the UFC a couple of months later with the fight getting scrapped.
Many were surprised with the decision, especially given that the fight was announced.
However, it turns out it was “Big Ben” himself who asked for his release in February. The reason?
With one fight remaining on his deal, he believed he was likely getting released from the UFC win or lose against Gustafsson.
“The fight got brought to us in January and they announced it,” Rothwell told The MMA Hour (via BJ Penn). “Me and my management sat back and were like, ‘well it’s the last fight on the deal what comes next, what are we going to do?’ We went to the UFC and said ‘are we going to sign something, are we going to get something done ahead of this fight? In my mind, I have seen the landscape, where I’m at in the picture. They’ve let go of some of the big heavyweights. Even if I go in and perform well, knock out Gustafsson in the first round, look great, what’s gonna happen next?
“They came back and we asked, ‘are we gonna sign a deal?’ They came back and said, ‘hey, let’s see what happens after this fight.’ We kind of talked about it and suspected that was the answer. That kind of left the door open for, ‘go on and win, do great, and that’s it, we’re gonna let you go anyway.’ I didn’t like that, and we asked for our release in February, I said I only got so many more fights and this fight is just a fight to make money. What is it really going to do? I’m going to fight Gustafsson who is a name but he’s 0-3 and the fight is just a fight.
“We just asked for our release, there was a period of time they were going back-and-forth, I think it caught them by surprise if anything. I’ve been with them for 13 years. So they granted it us, and they didn’t have to. I have nothing bad to say. I’ve had a good 13 years being a professional fighter.”
Ben Rothwell: BKFC Came With The Best Offer
Much like a number of UFC alumni, Rothwell would eventually sign with BKFC.
For Rothwell, it made sense for a lot of reasons.
“BKFC came with the best offer, made me very excited,” Rothwell said. “I believe that it’s the place for me because I was doing BKFC long before MMA. It’s something that’s part of my life, something my great grandfather was doing, probably not legally, but had a history of it. It’s something that’s in my blood.”
As for the details regarding the offer?
Rothwell revealed he was pretty much a six-figure fighter now. And if he is to win his next three fights, he’ll enter the seven-figure range.
“It’s a very good deal, for me, in the short term yes it’s a better deal (than the UFC),” Rothwell added. “I can’t really get into too many numbers but let’s just say I’m a six-figure fighter, and if I win my next three fights, I’ll make seven figures.”
Not a bad deal for an MMA veteran who turns 41 later this year.