Bob Sapp was once one of the most revered men in combat sports. His early days spanned across several organizations, with two amazing wins over K-1 legend, Ernesto Hoost and a draw with Jerome Le Banner. His career has taken a dramatic turn for the worst over the last four years, logging only 2 wins in 13 fights. Many have questioned his ethics, and have taken a hard stance against him, attributing his losses to "throwing" the vast majority of his fights. In a recentTapouT Radio interview, Bob addressed the issue.
*Note: This was a very long interview. It ran almost an hour, so I have just taken the questions that Bob answered directly, and put them here. As always, "interviewer" refers to either my co-host, Evan Shoman, or myself. I use that term to avoid having to bounce back and forth between several names.
Interviewer: How are things going with your career?
Bob Sapp: I have been on a losing streak. That's right, I've lost maybe seven or ten of them, perhaps even more, but I still manage to sell out every stadium and do more than every one of the promotions, all around the world. Only a total of four times, has The Beast ever fought in the United States, and I'm still making...last month it was $200,000 and the month before that was $300,000. I'm still making over a million dollars a year.
Interviewer: How much per fight do you make?
Bob Sapp: Between 30-40 thousand dollars per event. Every card they put The Beast on, the fans come, and it allows the other fighters an opportunity to make some money. I will also that every fighter has given me so much respect, and said, 'Thank you, Bob, for coming. I know you have a difficult schedule.'
Interviewer: You've been on a significant losing streak. What do you feel you need to do to get yourself back in the win column?
Bob Sapp: Well, to put myself in the win column, I need a nice victory. The first thing that I do, is go right at him 100%, give it my all, and land something, move quicker to place myself at more of an advantage.
Interviewer: What are your requirements and bare minimum or bottom line to take a fight?
Bob Sapp: This depends on the location of the fights. If you look at some of my fights, they're back to back. ONe will be on Saturday, the other on Sunday. Sometimes they're a week apart. It may be kickboxing, it may be MMA. If the countries I'm fighting in are close together, they (the promotions) will sometimes split the cost of my plane ticket, 50/50. That helps keep their costs down.
Bottom line costs a first class, round trip ticket, or business class, but most of the time, it's first class. That gets you what's called a "Sappy" video. That's basically me talking about the opponent, and it's basically a commercial for the promotion. They've done quite well, and are quite popular. You're basically looking at a 30 thousand to 40 thousand dollar range to get The Beast into an arena.
Interviewer: What is your criteria for choosing a promotion to fight for?
Bob Sapp: For me to even do the announcement that I'll fight for them, it's an automatic 10-15 thousand dollars down deposit. Period. Don't ask for a Mercedes if you only got money for a Bug. That's what it is, and there are no exceptions to that. When I get there, the rest of the money is due. Period.
Interviewer: Do you get any kind of bonuses for winning, or for ticket sales, website views, etc?
Bob Sapp: Some do offer a win bonus, but it's something I never even figure in for my mathematical equation for life. They don't offer bonuses or incentives for ticket sales or web site hits, though.
Interviewer: Have there been instances where promotions have mistreated you, such as for non-payment of purse, or not providing promised accommodations?
Bob Sapp: Yes, there have. It's more a lack of knowledge on how the system works. It's very simple, though, how I handle it. Do what I tell you to do, or I leave. Do I encounter these problems? Absolutely. Does anybody know how to handle these problems? I do.
Interviewer: Have you ever been approached by a promoter to fight a certain way? Maybe they wanted you to go balls out and destroy someone, or they wanted you to back off and go light on someone.
Bob Sapp: [laughs] I've done both those things, and yes they have. Sometimes, you can get a situation that's, 'Hey Bob, we want you to go in there and go really light. This guy is an upcoming dude. Then we want you to start banging it out, and this guy's going to come back at you, but don't go so that if you lose, it's going to be so fast, or if you knock this guy out, not so fast.' They will say that. Then they'll pass the money to the other guy and go, 'Kill him.' You'll see me go in there, just to do a light spar, and I'll get my rib broke or I'll get blasted between the nuts. Then, just in defense, I may come back and win. They're going, 'What the heck?' Then, magically, you may see that person no longer around me.
Interviewer: It's been said that you're kind of difficult to deal with, regarding your demands for certain accommodations. Is it because you've had experiences in the past with shady promoters and like things done a certain way, or is there another reason?
Bob Sapp: That's true. Here's what I ask for. A bed that will fit me, a place that has 24 hour room service, or food around, and internet access. That's what I've asked for. They've said that's extremely difficult. Why? I mean, these guys want to put you in a room with two men in the same bed, or on a small bed that is not equipped to hold you. Japan even has beds that hold me. Best Western accommodates those guidelines. Do I ask for suites with marble floors? No way.
Interviewer: How long do you see yourself putting on fight performances?
Bob Sapp: [laughs] That's a good question, and I'll let you know. I do have some major offers with some companies in Hollywood, acting professionally. You're probably looking at about a year, maybe less, until The Beast is done.