Seven fighters turned down bout with Spong
Some have criticized the fight as mismatched despite Spong having no actual MMA experience (he did have over 100 kickboxing bouts however). In reality, any fighter with more than a 0-0 record in MMA would have been a likely candidate for Spong in his debut, but Bartlett was the man who accepted after seven other, more experience candidates said “no thanks” when approached with the offer to face the Dutch striker.
World Series of Fighting vice president and matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz confirmed with MMAWeekly.com that seven different opponents were approached and offered the fight with Spong, and all seven turned down the opportunity until Bartlett was the one who finally said yes.
One name that was confirmed among the list was former UFC light heavyweight Houston Alexander, and Abdel-Aziz said several other recognizable names made up the list of fighters who didn’t want to be Spong’s first test inside the cage.