FightBox on Facebook
English (United Kingdom)Polish (Poland)Czech (Čeština)

FBP 150: Bob Sapp vs. Selcuk Ustabasi at MFC 24

Bob Sapp - he’s sort of like the Donald Trump of combat sports, either you love him or you hate him. He’s a very polarizing individual. The haters will say he has no business being a fighter, seeing as how he has obviously been taking dives for the past 12 years or so. His fans will say that, back in the day, he had more heart than any fighter they’ve ever seen and is incredibly entertaining.

Regardless of which side of the spectrum you fall on regarding “The Beast”, one thing is for sure, and that is that the show is still going on. Bob Sapp continues to be booked around the world in kickboxing and MMA fights, despite everyone knowing what the inevitable outcome will be. In fact, it was back in August of 2017 that I last spoke to Sapp before a kickboxing fight he had with Gregory Tony in France at St. Tropez Fight Night. The interviewed aired on episode 135 of The FightBox Podcast where he explained why he does this.

His most recent rendezvous was in Izmir, Turkey for Mix Fight Championship 24 where, once again, he was scheduled to face another local star in what would surely end up in another clear first round victory for the local Turkish fighter.

It was hard to miss Bob as I walked into the weigh-ins. He was the only 6’ 5’’, 350 lbs dude wearing white rimmed glasses in a room full of Turkish middleweights. I greeted him and explained that we had done an interview before and I that I would be calling his fight tomorrow. When he shook my hand it completely enveloped it. It was like shaking hands with a bear. My hand completely disappeared inside of his.

We started talking about all the stuff he has been through in the last few months including being extorted in Uganda, where they hotel gave his companion food poisoning and forced him to pay a bill that wasn’t his (click here for the full story). We also talked about Bob’s eventful New Year’s Eve where he not only had a sumo wrestling match against former yokozuna Asashoryu, but also wrestled a BEAR (yes, a real bear) on Japanese television. I found Bob to be a very well spoken and intelligent individual.

As the weigh-ins started, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that something interesting was about to happen. The whole place started buzzing before they were brought onto the stage and nearly every fighter on hand had gathered on either side of the scales to make sure they’d be able to pull them apart should something happen.

The next day I found myself waiting for Bob in the lobby of the Hilton hotel in Izmir and managed to get a pre fight interview out of him.

That’s what I love about Bob Sapp. A lot of fighters, when you stick a camera in their face, they freeze up or have no idea what to say. Other guys just do the typical “I’ve been training really hard. I expect a good fight” deal which is about as exciting as watching paint dry. But Bob was able to, off the top of his head, come up with that “snap, crackle, pop” line which will definitely generate a lot more excitement for the fight than almost anyone else on the card.

But what about his opponent? What could possibly be going through his mind? I mean, he must know who Bob Sapp is and how he “fights”, right? What’s he thinking before the fight? Did he even bother to train? Is he okay with what the inevitable outcome is sure to be? I also managed to get a pre fight interview with Selcuk Ustabasi, his opponent, to try to find the answers to these questions. Viktor Bogutzki is translating for him, another top heavyweight fighter in MFC.

Well, it’s seems clear to me that Selcuk really doesn’t care one way or the other what Sapp does in the fight. Will he come out fighting hard like in 2005? Will he take a few shots and then drop like he normally does? For Selcuk, it doesn’t matter. He’s just happy to be getting a high profile fight and takes solace in the fact that he’s prepared for anything that might come his way. To see what actually happened in the fight, click on the video below.

Big surprise, right? Well, what did you expect? But I’ll tell you something - if it wasn’t for Bob Sapp would that place be sold out? Maybe. Maybe not. At the beginning of the main card, before the fights, they had all the fighters on the ramp which leads to the ring. As the fighters were walking to the ramp through the crowd, guess which guy was getting mobbed by the fans, all wanting selfies and pictures? Was it Peter Aerts? No. Was it Atakan Arslan? No. Was it Selcuk Ustabasi? No. It was Bob Sapp.

You can go ahead and say what you want about the fight. Yeah, Bob was obviously being overly-dramatic about the whole ordeal and refused to get up after taking very little damage, but he just may be the reason why everyone was staying in a four star hotel (some of the fighters were even staying at the Hilton). He may also be the reason why the promoter even had the money to fly nearly half the roster to Turkey to begin with. Bob Sapp attracts mobs of interested onlookers wherever he goes and I got to see that first hand when I was around him all weekend. It’s a lesson I learned a long time ago in professional wrestling - don’t be jealous of the guy in the main event, be happy you’re on the same card as him because when he’s on the card, everyone’s making more money.

So how did Bob feel about what he had just done? Was he ashamed of himself?  Was he embarrassed? Was he just glad it was over? Was he laughing all the way to the bank? Check out this post fight interview and see for yourself.

So in the end, it was exactly what everyone knew it was going to be. But for a lot of those people in Izmir, Turkey, it was a once in a lifetime experience to see, in person, a larger than life individual and be a part of something special.

One thing that I learned through talking to Bob that weekend was that there’s a whole different side to him that most people don’t know about, because he doesn’t make a big public showing of it. He’s actually a very charitable person. He’s probably made millions in his lifetime and he’s not that kind of person that goes spending it on unnecessary things like Rolls Royce cars and Gucci loafers. He likes to give back to people and help those in need. Check it out for yourself what Bob Sapp had to say about, not only being extorted in Uganda, but WHY he was even in Uganda in the first place and some of the other great charity work he’s done for other groups and individuals. I think you’ll come away with a whole different outlook on this man.

- Daniel Austin (blog) (podcast)


  • Share on:
    Facebook Google Bookmarks