In his latest "Full-Time Fighter" column for MMA Junkie, former UFC light heavyweight (and eternal star of Rashad Evans' highlight reel) Sean Salmon makes a rather startling admission regarding his last fight, which took place in Ohio back in June.
Salmon says that he was training with members of the Wolfslair Academy in Cheshire, England, when he flew back to Ohio on June 3rd for a match against WEC veteran Allan Weickert (then with a record of 5-6 to Salmon's 16-7) on June 6th. He was set to return to England on June 7th, provided he emerged from the Weickert bout unscathed.
Salmon expected to handle the less experienced fighter with ease. He didn't:
I handled him very easily for the entire first round. He was able to land one very good elbow to my temple. I am embarrassed to admit that my first thought was that, "If he cut me and I can't go back to England, this is not worth it." How in the world could I be in a fight and think that if I got cut, it is not worth the win?
In the second round, I took him down again. He went for an armbar, I defended it (only to prove to myself that he couldn't get it), and then I put my arm back in to give him the win so that I could return to England, healthy. Just so you all know, that is the most embarrassing thing that I have ever admitted out loud.
This is, naturally, only the beginning of Salmon's article. He goes on to explain what a terrible state of mind he was in, how he was battling substance abuse at the time, and how he's fully reformed and rededicated now, heading into a September 11th fight with Ultimate Fighter alum Dante Rivera. And that's great - I'm really happy for the guy.
Still, I can't help but feel that his "admission" not only shows massive disrespect to the fighter who bested him that night*, but also raises questions regarding Salmon's morals and whether this sort of thing (or, worse, legit fight fixing) happens in MMA far more than we diehard fans like to imagine.
* Weickert isn't mentioned by name in the piece, but the fight result is easily located on Sherdog's Fight Finder. Salmon tapped at 2:05 of the second frame. Links to Salmon's pre-fight trash talking can also be found on Weickert's Wikipedia page.