(Kampmann does some of his best thinking on the streets, right around dusk, wearing his UFC sweatshirt. You wouldn’t understand, man.)
You have to love it when an MMA fighter explains why he turned down a fight that the UFC offered him and begins with the phrase, ‘No disrespect to [name of fighter he is disrespecting], but…’ It’s as smooth a move as saying, ‘Don’t take this the wrong way,’ right before you say something that you know will be taken the wrong way. That’s basically what Martin Kampmann is doing while explaining to Versus.com why he turned down a fight with T.J. Grant that has been all over the internets the last couple days as if were totally official:
“No disrespect to T.J. Grant, but I don’t think it’s a fight that makes any sense for me at the moment,” Kampmann said. “I want to fight some higher ranked guys. I never even knew who the guy was, and he’s probably a tough guy. But I want to fight guys who make sense for me and who can escalate me up the ladder more, so I didn’t accept that fight. I don’t know what happened, but apparently some miscommunication somewhere because I saw it all over the internet.”
Dude’s kind of got a point. Grant has a 14-2 record, which is impressive until you look at who he’s fought. His biggest win so far was a split decision victory over Ryo Chonan in his Octagon debut at UFC 97.
Kampmann, on the other hand, just won a fairly high-profile fight against former WEC welterweight champ Carlos Condit. After that win you’d expect him to get someone further up the food chain than Grant.
Then again, turning down fights because you feel the opponent isn’t good enough is a good way to hurt your pocketbook and piss off the UFC, who may well overmatch you just to make a point or, in at least one circumstance, cut your ass on account of your refusal to fight combined with your idiotic statements in the press. Kampmann’s in no danger of that, but he still might want to tread carefully here.