For the second time in two months Lorenz Larkin is short changed out of a title match against Luke Rockhold.
Larkin (Twitter: @da_MONSOON) was scheduled to fight Rockhold on Nov. 3 at “Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir,” however, the Strikeforce middleweight champ withdrew due to a wrist injury. In the end the entire card was cancelled, so the setback for Larkin was inevitable.
The match was rescheduled for Jan. 12 on the promotion’s final event. In an unfortunate turn of events Larkin’s manager, Arnold DeWitt, confirmed with MMADiehards.com that bout too is cancelled due to Rockhold’s injury not being healed in time.
Injuries happen in MMA and it’s part of the game, but six months for a sprained wrist to heal is not an excuse Larkin’s camp is buying.
“The bottom line is that now this is the second time he’s pulled out,” DeWitt told MMADiehards.com. “We’ve been in camp; we’ve been prepared for both fights. At this point we’re highly frustrated. We were prepared to fight Luke Rockhold for the title regardless of what’s going to happen with Strikeforce after January 12th. We’ve been prepared both times and this is just totally unprofessional.”
DeWitt said he is genuinely sorry if Rockhold has a legitimate injury, yet can’t understand why the champ wouldn’t have disclosed this when signing a contract to face Larkin for the second time. Seeing as Rockhold was well aware of his healing process since the cancellation of the November 3rd Strikeforce event, DeWitt believes by not fessing up the AKA fighter’s actions are selfish and hurting all involved.
“If you receive a bout agreement and can’t fight you should say something right away,” DeWitt said. “He’s putting a lot of pressure on matchmakers because they’re trying to put on this final card. What are you doing to Zuffa when you’re pulling out and they’re spending weeks on promoting the fight? Now they have to find a replacement fight and he needs to fight. When you think about it he hasn’t fought in six months. So it’s not only about fighting for a title but also from a financial stand point. It’s frustrating. You signed to fight; you signed a bout agreement so let’s fight.”
DeWitt is not completely sold on the idea that Rockhold is afraid of Larkin, but is rather avoiding the match and potential loss to cover his own business interests.
“For Luke, of course he wants to keep his title when he goes over to the UFC,” DeWitt said. “That’s going to be a bargaining chip when he restructures his contract for a UFC contract. I can see why this is a dangerous fight and obviously they don’t want to fight us.”
If the scenario stays as it is and Larkin does not compete against Rockhold in Strikeforce, DeWitt is hoping someone has their eye on the situation and makes the two combatants meet in the Octagon. The loss of two consecutive opportunities to fight for a title is frustrating enough, but it’s gotten to the point that Larkin’s camp is starting to feel some bad blood between the two mixed martial artists.
“I hope that (UFC president) Dana White is paying close attention to this situation and comments on it publicly,” DeWitt said. “We all know and have heard Dana in the news and what he expects of his fighters. We know that pulling out because of injuries continually is frowned upon. Does the guy want to fight or not want to fight? I don’t give a crap if we fight him in January, but we want to fight the guy because now it’s become personal. We’ve done our due diligence, we signed our contracts to fight just like his camp has and at the end of the day we’re supposed to go out there and fight. We have our duties.”
Whether Larkin competes again in Strikeforce or not is not a concern to DeWitt. He strongly believes Larkin will be a UFC fighter following the demise of Strikeforce either way, but now finding a suitable opponent is the difficult part.
“I don’t think it’s going to hurt us,” DeWitt said. “We want to fight – we didn’t get who we wanted- but we want to fight. Whether they put in a replacement or whatever, we don’t get the fight we want. We wanted to go out with a bang and to fight for a title. If they put in a replacement it’s highly disappointing and not motivating in any way. At this point we have to sit down and see what they throw at us and take it from there.
“To me, unless we’re fighting Luke, nothing makes sense. If he won’t fight us in Strikeforce we want to fight him in the UFC. He’s got to fight us some way, somehow.”
Editor’s note: Punch Drunk Radio’s Amy Barton conducted this interview.