Quite often, when a matchup gets made and someone has to pull out — for one reason or another — the promotion finds a replacement. But for Bellator welterweight Lorenz Larkin, it happened twice in a one-month span. And he’s more than irked about it at this point.
Larkin (19-7) had been orginally scheduled to face Yaroslav Amosov in a welterweight world grand prix alternate bout at Friday’s Bellator 207. Last month, Amosov pulled out due to an undisclosed injury and promotional newcomer Erick Silva got inserted into the slot. Then, last week, Silva informed Bellator that he couldn’t compete due to an injury.
Wanting to keep Larkin on the card, Bellator turned to Ion Pascu. The unusual circumstances have left Larkin irritated and ready to take all of his frustrations out on his opponent.
“I’m just tired of the bulls— and I’m going to take it out on Pascu,” Larkin told Sporting News. “Let’s address Amosov. That guy got built up in Russia with a padded record and making people think he fought high-caliber talent. When they took the call, they quickly accepted, but after they thought about it for a minute, they decided to make up some type of injury and not take the fight. When I really looked at his record, I thought this guy was legit. Then, I really looked at his record and it’s a padded record. He hasn’t fought top talent. His management doesn’t want him fighting someone like me right now — which is understandable, but just don’t take the fight to begin with.”
He added: “With Erick Silva, he probably thought he was going to come into Bellator and get an easy fight right off the bat. But that didn’t happen. All of a sudden, he got multiple rib cartilage tears. The only time I’ve heard of that happening is getting jumped and beaten up in a bar. Unless that happened, I don’t understand how he can have multiple rib cartilage tears.”
Just when it seemed like Larkin had gotten everything out of his system … he raged on.
“I take it very personally because I don’t pull out of fights,” Larkin said. “I train hard. I train smart and I show up to fight. All of these guys are always coming up with some type of injuries. Some injuries do happen, don’t get me wrong, but if you get an injury right before the fight, I’d understand that more than an injury a month and a half out from the fight. Amosov got hurt around a month and half out from our scheduled fight. What injury did you get that far out? When I get scheduled for a fight, 99.9 percent of the time, I’m going to show up.”
Many were surprised when Bellator revealed the eight-man grand prix field and Larkin’s name wasn’t in there. Larkin would only be an alternate since he fought for the title in his promotional debut against then-titleholder Douglas Lima at Bellator NYC in June 2017. That’s the way “The Monsoon” wanted it, though, because he didn’t want to sit around and not compete for long periods of time.
‘When I was first approached about being in the tournament, my theory was the timing,” Larkin said. “I would have had to wait until December or January and already hadn’t fought since January. That’s not what I’m trying to do. I want to fight and be active. I don’t like waiting around fighting two times a year. If I’m healthy, I’d prefer to fight four times a year.”
Bellator’s welterweight division is regarded as its deepest weight class and one of the best — if not the best — in all of mixed martial arts. And that makes Larkin proud to fight for the promotion.
“I felt this would be great because no one else is doing this,” Larkin excitedly said. “Or if companies are doing it, they don’t have the talent pool that Bellator has. In reality, other places don’t have the pieces. The heavyweight tournament is like whatever to me. It’s a bunch of guys that don’t fight at heavyweight, but are now fighting at heavyweight that were put together to fight in this tournament, which is cool. It brings eyes to the organization, but at the end of the day, this is the most-developed division in any organization. This is the most-stacked tournament Bellator’s ever had.”