After battling a series of bizarre and career-threatening injuries, Benji Radach ran up an impressive winning streak in the IFL. He beat mostly mid-level fighters like Ryan McGivern and Gerald Harris, but he did it convincingly and in exciting fashion. Then he got TKO’d by Matt Horwich in his last fight. Apparently that was enough for the UFC to decide to pass on him when it came time to bid on IFL free agents after the company’s collapse. In an interview with Sam Caplan, Radach can’t seem to make sense of why MMA’s biggest organization wouldn’t want to sign a guy who’s coming of a loss and has a history of injuries:
“The UFC actually never pursued anything. I actually gave them the option at first (to negotiate) by letting them know I was interested in fighting for the UFC again. But they said I needed to win a fight before I could be a part of the UFC. That really was kind of retarded from my point of view. If there’s a good fighter out there, then you want to grab that good fighter. It doesn’t make a difference if he goes out there and beats a nobody and then gets a win and comes back in. It’s just really stupid. Why is it important that I go out and smash somebody just to get a win rather than fight a top guy in your organization?”
On one hand, Radach has a point. He could go to one of the smaller shows and knock out a guy no one has ever heard of, and it wouldn’t prove anything (aside from perhaps silencing lingering doubts as to his durability). On the other hand, if you want to fight for the UFC, why not go ahead and do that?
It’s worth noting that Horwich was signed to a deal with the UFC and will make his debut at UFC 90. This, after losing the IFL belt via decision to Ryan McGivern and then coming back and beating Joey Guel, who most people had never heard of. The point is, regardless what you think of the UFC’s policy of asking fighters to come back when they’ve got a win under their belt, that’s pretty much standard operating procedure for them and everyone knows it.
Instead, Radach opted to take this fight on ‘Elite XC: Heat’ against “Ninja” Rua on five weeks notice. He says he wasn’t training at all before accepting it, was up to 230 pounds, and has been out of action since December of 2007. Network TV exposure is hard to turn down, but hearing all that is enough to make you wonder whether taking a tune-up fight against lesser competition might not have been such a bad idea after all.