Bubba Jenkins is not impressed with Bellator MMA

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Former Div I national wrestling champion and Bellator MMA featherweight Bubba Jenkins had been on a three-fight win streak, when he took a rematch with Georgi Karakhanyan. He lost that via first round KO. That was in August.

Increasingly frustrated with the lack of opportunity, on Monday he asked to be released from his contract, and that was granted on Tuesday. In a Wednesday interview with The MMA Circus, Jenkins expressed criticism of his former employers.

The fighter broke down a series of incidents that eroded his confidence in the organization. Karakhanyan weighed in at 149 for the 146 limit rematch. Jenkins said promises were made he took the fight with the overweight opponent.

“They said, ‘We’re gonna take care of you if you take this fight. It’s not going to look good on you if you don’t take this fight. But if you do take the fight, we’re going to stand out in front, we’re going to take care of you. Win, lose or draw, we’ll get you right back in there, regardless,’” said Jenkins to podcast co-host Nick Baldwin for BE. “So I took the fight, end up losing, and I haven’t fought in seven months.”

Jenkins was supposed to get 20% of Karakhanyan’s purse, but that has yet to happen, perhaps because Jenkins too weighed in over, at 168.8. That possibly happened as Jenkins knew Karakhanyan would miss, but it would nullify the athletic commission fine. In any case, Jenkins still has yet to get the money.

“That was a massive deal to me,” he said. “To me, that was one of the last straws.”

The promotion wanted him to be more active with his trash talk, which he tried, with little success.

“I don’t even like the word ‘call out,’” said Jenkins. “So I said, ‘OK, I don’t want to call this guy out, but I’ll just say I summon him.’ I summoned Emmanuel Sanchez. Bellator hit me back, ‘Oh, we don’t like that fight, we’re not gonna give you that fight.’ I asked for Justin Lawrence; they wouldn’t give me that fight. I’ve asked for James Gallagher, and that probably was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Jenkins said the sole fight offered since the loss was vs. sometime teammate A.J. McKee, on three day’s notice.

“They wanted me to fight A.J. McKee,” he said. “I’d been training with him for the last two and a half years. That was in October, maybe November. It’s almost to say, ‘Well, we didn’t say you couldn’t fight; we have a fight for you.’”

“It’s just a slew of grievances over and over and over that are starting to mount up, where I’m feeling so much disrespect that I have to eventually, as a man, stand up not only for myself, but for my family, to get my respect back,” said Jenkins.

“It’s so much trickery and so much weirdness with what they’re trying to do with me. It just started becoming overwhelming.”

The UFC is an obvious possibility, but Jenkins is not fixated on the world’s dominant league.

“The mecca of fighting is the UFC,” he acknowledged, but with a caveat. “You don’t want to say, ‘Oh, well, the UFC is bigger than Bellator, so we’re going to say screw Bellator and go right to the UFC because the UFC is bigger and better.’ That’s just not smart. We’re going to look at every situation. Obviously, I want to be in the biggest organization, but the money has to add up. It doesn’t help to have had the loss I had in Bellator, but I’m hoping to redeem myself and have an organization that’s gonna put their best foot forward and say, ‘We want to see what you’re about.’ That’s all I’m asking for. I’m not asking to be rich.”