Written by @NickRiznerMMA
During the TUF Talk segment of FOX Sports Live, following the third episode of The Ultimate Fighter, Artem Lobov was asked about McGregor’s tough love towards Sascha Sharma.
According to Lobov, the frustration stemmed from the knowledge that there are plenty of SBG Ireland fighters who would ‘kill for this opportunity.’ So to see a guy who has it right in front of him, and lets it pass him by, is nothing short of infuriating for the Team Europe coach.
This is a sentiment shared by Lobov, who went on to detail his especially difficult path to a shot at the UFC. He described his come-up in the sport. He talked about fighting dangerous guys in their respective hometowns, while their ‘family members’ judged the fight. He expressed his feelings that this was the true warrior’s path. It was evident that he took great pride in his journey through MMA, and rightfully so.
He also managed to slip in a very interesting piece of information about the UFC front office.
While mid-rant, from the middle chair of what I can only assume was some sort of home theater, Artem Lobov accused Sean Shelby of telling him to pad his record.
“Sean Shelby told me, ‘Go and pad your record, and I’ll give you a shot in the UFC.” – Artem Lobov
The interview carried on without a hitch. Not much was made of the comment, but this should come as no surprise, as TUF Talk is, essentially, a glorified fluff piece. That being said, the allegation is somewhat serious, especially in the wake of the recent reports of unsanctioned MMA events plaguing our sport.
On August 28th, Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting released a shocking piece on the reality of unsanctioned MMA events and padded records within the regional circuit. While there may not be a direct connection between this story and the claims of Artem Lobov, the implication that a UFC matchmaker is encouraging fighters to “pad their records” is certainly worth taking note of.
It goes without saying that this is all hearsay. And even if Shelby did, in fact, say this to Lobov, there is no telling whether he was following orders or going rogue. However, if this turns out to be true, it would certainly help explain why fighters are willing to take lopsided matchups in lieu of making their dreams come true.
A disturbing revelation, but a justification all the same.
— FS1 (@FS1) September 24, 2015