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The Case of Ben Rothwell

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Ben Fowlkes of CBSsportsline has a piece detailing the unfortunate plight of Ben Rothwell.  While the article suggests Rothwell's perfectionism has him both diminishing his achievements and spurring him into action, the more important observation is that its going to be hard to get Big Ben the attention he deserves.  Notable quote:

"It's a constant uphill battle," he said. "Like our team. We won the championship, and the hill only got steeper. No team in the IFL has fought as much as we have. Now if I could rematch Dan Christison and make up for that loss, that would be good. But even if I knock him out in the first round, people will say, 'So what?' If I beat somebody I've already beaten, like Krzysztof (Soszynski), they'll say, 'So what?'"

"I'm going to have to beat somebody nobody thinks I can beat. That's what it's going to take, and I think I have the skills to beat anyone. Not every fighter can say that."

That's true, not every fighter can say that.  But Ben can.  The problem is that the list of competitors for Ben that will enable him to be marketed effectively or move up the heavyweight rankings are dwindling.  The UFC is actively trying to score as many of the world's top heavyweights and while Ben is in that category, his MFSElite teammate Tim Sylvia already fights in that organization.  If Ben wanted to fight big names he'd have to jump ship, but eventually it seems those two would have to cross paths (they did once before they were teammates) and that's something both would like to avoid.

Ben is a legit talent, but the team concept isn't doing him very many favors.  Outside of the individual superfight competitors, its the teams that get the lions share of marketing.   Ben Rothwell is on television now more than ever, yet is still virtually anonymous.  He's having difficulty amassing victories over recognizable names, but since the teams are the focal point for the IFL, they don't have a great deal of incentive to correct this problem.

If Rothwell wants to reach the top of the heavyweight rankings, fighting Dan Christison as part of a team isn't going to get him there anytime soon.  Something has to change.  Either the IFL needs to recruit talent and market him properly or he needs to leave the organization.