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Henry Cejudo's next fight up in the air, management turned down bout with Olympic silver medalist Stephen Abas

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Henry Cejudo's manager expresses a wide variety of concerns with Cejudo's upcoming fight at a May 18 Gladiator Challenge event.

Henry Cejudo "wrestling a viking"
Henry Cejudo "wrestling a viking"
Gareth Copley

Former Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo's transition to mixed martial arts has been successful insofar as the goals that were set. While Cejudo's level of competition hasn't exactly been high, he's been able to learn on the job, fighting regularly and picking up quick stoppages while running his record to 3-0.

Cejudo's next fight was suppose to come on May 18 at a Gladiator Challenge event against Kevin Montejano, but Montejano couldn't make the 128 pound catchweight and was replaced by Miguelito "Darkness" Marti. That replacement became an issue when Bill McFarlane, Henry's manager, noticed some significant inconsistencies with Marti's record. Inconsistencies that McFarlane didn't feel Gladiator Challenge CEO Tedd Williams did a good enough job explaining.

Josh Gross has the story at ESPN:

Williams told McFarlane that Marti’s record was 3-2, but the official online record keepers for MMA offered no proof. Type "Miguelito Marti Darkness" into Google and you’ll see three videos. He goes after it during a Pepsi dance off. A training session pops up and it looks like he has some idea what he’s doing. And then there’s an XARM contest during a Gladiator Challenge event (XARM, the brainchild of UFC co-creator Art Davie, pits competitors who are linked as if arm wrestling, all the while being allowed to punch, kick and submit the other man). Prior to having one of his arms tied to his opponent’s, Marti was announced as 7-2 in MMA.

"Marti's record continues to evolve and that is not normal and should not be the case," McFarlane wrote in an email.

Cejudo’s manager went back to Williams "for clarification on Marti given the lack of information on and, and the XARM exhibition inconsistency."

The next time they spoke, Williams said Marti’s 3-2 record was in XARM and Marti had no MMA fights. Then Williams "came back with an email saying his real MMA record was 4-2.

Gross reported that Williams offered Stephen Abas as another option. Abas was a 2004 Olympic silver medalist and lost to Cejudo in the finals of the 2008 trials, at least in part due to a knee injury. Here's the video of that match:

Abas talked to InterMat about the loss in 2009:

You reached the finals of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials while battling injuries. How healthy were you at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials?

Abas: I had a missing ACL in my left knee. The great thing about my career is that I didn't have too many serious injuries up until my last few years of wrestling. Those last three years starting at the Olympics in 2004, I tore a ligament in my knee in the finals. Six or seven months after that was when I tore my ACL for the first time and my LCL. That was kind of the beginning of my knee problems. Since then, I had two more surgeries. The last few years have been real tough on my body. It was kind of the reason for my retirement.

Describe your emotions after Henry Cejudo won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China?

Abas: I watched him wrestle on TV. I stayed up until three in the morning when they aired those matches. I watched every one of his matches. As he made it further and further along, I was a little surprised. When he won the gold, it was kind of a bittersweet feeling. I lost to this guy who was the best in the world and won the Olympic gold. I had that opportunity. It was a little hard to deal with at first. It has already been a year. Obviously, I felt like I could have won the gold medal as well. I'm happy for him. I'm glad he did it. I wish him nothing but the best in his future.

McFarlane claimed that there wasn't enough time for either fighter to get ready for that level of bout and turned it down. Williams also claimed that McFarlane brought up "all kinds of stuff" about Abas' activities outside the cage. While McFarlane declined to specify to Gross what he was referring to, it's fairly obvious.

Abas was tried for rape in 2011, likely a big reason for his not having fought since 2010. The Gazette had some of the details from the trial:

A woman testified Thursday that she felt paralyzed when she awoke to find a former Olympic wrestler on top of her in her bed.

"I just had this paralyzing feeling where I can’t move. I can’t say anything," she said. "It was like my body was heavy."

Her testimony came during the third day of a trial in which Stephen Anthony Abas, 33, is accused of sexually assaulting the woman on May 15, 2008 in her dorm room at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

The woman, who was 20 at that time, was a wrestler training for the 2008 summer Olympics. Abas had won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics with the U.S. wrestling team.

Abas claimed the sex was consensual after a night of drinking.

The first trial ended with the jury in a 10-2 deadlock in favor of his acquittal. A second trial was set, but the day before the case was to go in front of the jury the case was dropped by the prosecutor. The prosecutor claimed that the alleged victim didn't want to go through another trail.

The other issue that McFarlane appears to have with Gladiator Challenge is the unregulated nature of many of their events as they take place on tribal land. He cited fighters using their own gloves and unsupervised hand wrapping taking place at events.

Either way, time is running out to figure out a bout for Cejudo. With a trip scheduled to Brazil over the summer, that would be valuable cage time missed.