Tyrone Spong made an impressive MMA debut at the World Series of Fighting 1 event this past Saturday night. After praising Spong for dominating Travis Bartlett, the next thought on everyone's mind was: What exactly was Bartlett doing in the cage against Spong?
At first glance Bartlett sports a respectable 7-2 professional MMA record compared to Spong's (then) 0-0 MMA record. Yet it was a clear mismatch, and the WSOF received a bit of criticism for putting Bartlett in the cage against someone of Spong's talent.
However, MMA Weekly shared some insight that should earn Bartlett a measure of respect from MMA fans.
According to WSOF vice president and matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz, seven different opponents refused to face Spong. Abdel-Aziz says the list of guys who said "no thanks" is comprised of some notable names in the MMA world.
One name Abdel-Aziz threw out was former UFC talent Houston Alexander. The MMA vet at least has a viable excuse of not wanting to face a highly touted MMA prospect after losing three straight fights.
Although Spong sports a 1-0 record in MMA, he's a veteran of more than 100 kickboxing matches. He trains at Fighting Factory Carbin in Amsterdam, Netherlands, but moved his MMA training to the renowned "Blackzillians" camp in Florida.
Training with top talent like Rashad Evans and Anthony Johnson will no doubt solidify Spong's ground game enough to prevent the kickboxer from finding himself in any extended grappling exchanges.
Spong has faced some of the best in the world in kickboxing, including names like Alistair Overeem and Jerome Le Banner, and owns a victory over WSOF president Ray Sefo.