Salmon Explains Incendiary Essay

By Jake Rossen Sep 3, 2009
Following a submission defeat to unheralded Allan Weickert June 3 in Ohio, Sean Salmon wrote an essay for MMAJunkie.com that contained language most fans considered profane: namely, that he allowed Weickert to win.

“In the second round, I took him down again,” described Salmon. “He went for an armbar, I defended it (only to prove to myself that he couldn't get it), and then I put my arm back in to give him the win so that I could return to England, healthy.”

The article, which was posted late Wednesday afternoon, has resulted in Salmon being ostracized by observers and Ohio Athletic Commission Executive Director Bernie Profato threatening suspension if Salmon cannot provide a satisfactory explanation. (A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 14.)

Sherdog.com spoke with Salmon Thursday in an attempt to clarify the issue.

Sherdog: Your Sept. 2 essay has caused a stir. The belief is that you allowed Weickert to win when you could have continued fighting.
Salmon: It is being 100% misinterpreted. It’s my fault. I write those columns for Junkie -- they’ve given me the freedom, anytime I have something going on, to write what I’m thinking. And that’s exactly how I do it. I sit down at the computer and start typing. I don’t proofread it. I don’t re-read it. I don’t want to start second-guessing myself.

My main objective was to illustrate how many things I had going wrong with my life. My marriage was heading towards divorce. I wasn’t seeing my kid nearly as much -- hardly at all, and we live in the same town. I have all this going on. I’m out of the country and people at [UK fight gym] Wolfslair are telling me, “If you get hurt in this fight, don’t bother coming back.”

Sherdog: That passage confused some people. Can you explain what was meant by that?
Salmon: I was paid [by Wolfslair] to be a training partner for Michael Bisping and Cheick Kongo, to help them with their wrestling. They had upcoming fights against wrestlers. I was basically their employee. They were saying, “If you’re hurt and can’t coach us, can’t get in the cage and show us what a wrestler would do in these situations, you’re no good to us.” Which is understandable.

Sherdog: But if being healthy was that important at the time, why bother taking the Weickert fight? Even if he was a guy they pulled from the crowd, there’s always the chance you could hurt yourself.
Salmon: I had that fight before England even came up.

Sherdog: The passage causing controversy is when you say he went for an armbar, you defended it, then you put your arm back out there knowing he’d secure it again. You said you did that to “give him the win.” Is that a statement you stand by?
Salmon: Not exactly. I’m certainly not backtracking, but I should’ve worded it like—I didn’t fight that armbar with everything I had. That’s how I should’ve worded it. He got my arm, put me in a tricky position, and I felt like I could’ve defended it, but in my head I was already quitting, already giving up. I had more fight in me. That’s the only way to explain it. I had more fight in me. I wasn’t done. Bottom line, I took the coward’s way out.

Sherdog: But there is something incriminating about saying, “I gave him my arm.” That’s different than submitting because you’re tired or mentally broken. You gave him an avenue to win.
Salmon: I should’ve proofed that. I don’t like proofreading because I don’t want to second-guess myself. But I didn’t think that would be a focus. I was just whipping through that part of the story.

Sherdog: When you escaped the armbar in the second round, did you stick your arm back in knowing he would grab it?
Salmon: No. I wrote it the wrong way. He got the arm. I knew it was a position I could defend. If I fought and struggled the way you’re supposed to, I could’ve gotten out. But I didn’t have that fight in me. On that night, at the time, I did not have the motivation to fight that any more. I wanted to be anywhere else in the world but that cage, that night.

Sherdog: But people are going to say you’re backpedaling because of the controversy that’s come down.
Salmon: I can see why you’d say that. I’m setting the record straight. When I wrote that column, the last thing in the world I thought would be an issue is the armbar. I didn’t take the time to think it out and write exactly what I was feeling at that exact moment. I thought the focus on the article would be about putting your life back together.

Sherdog: By way of absolute statement, you feel you did not throw the fight?
Salmon: You know, I hear “throw the fight” like I had something to gain, like I went into a betting house and put $1,000 on Weickert. That wasn’t the case at all. I went into the fight 100% expecting to win. Allan came after me. A credit to him, he showed me what my breaking point was. He showed me I was lying to myself thinking I could come in there and walk through it. I didn’t throw the fight, but I definitely didn’t fight as hard as I should have.

Sherdog: If Ohio were to hand down a suspension and other commissions honored it, there’s a chance you could be banned from the sport in the states.
Salmon: The possibility exists. I’m not taking it lightly. I misspoke. I didn’t think this would be the focus. In hindsight, that was a poor assumption.

Sherdog: Do you feel like you disrespected the sport?
Salmon: Of course. I felt like that before I wrote the article. You can say that about anyone who didn’t do the things beforehand, not only physically but mentally, to prepare themselves for that situation. I’m not the first guy who gave up in the fight or quit or wasn’t prepared. I won’t be the last.
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