Bob Sapp file photo: Sherdog.com
SYDNEY, Australia -- Bob Sapp won't be facing Soa Palelei as planned for Impact FC's Sunday card in Sydney, Australia. However, Impact promoter Tom Huggins says the central issue with Sapp isn't the cost of plane tickets.
Sapp, 37, has just completed filming a remake of "Conan the Barbarian" in Bulgaria. While there, Sapp worked with Bulgarian sambo coaches to prepare for the bout. Impact FC had agreed to fly Sapp and two of his trainers to Sydney for the Palelei bout. However, the arrangement became unworkable due to Sapp's stalling and procrastination, Huggins said.
"For three weeks, we tried to get Bob to commit to flight dates and sign a contract. He never actually signed the contract we sent him weeks ago," said Huggins.
Sapp did not return an initial call for comment.
However, Sapp told MMAJunkie.com Wednesday night that he was pulled from the card because Impact FC were unwilling to pay for his airfare from Bulgaria to Australia. Sapp added that he had spent $10,000 on a training camp, and planned to draft a formal letter to the promotion, seeking reimbursement for his expenses.
"We needed to have this stuff taken care of weeks ago. You get on the phone with Bob, and two hours later, nothing gets accomplished. Bob is a business guy, too. He knows that sometimes things happen that make deals untenable," he added. "You can't just get three plane tickets out Sofia, especially for Bob Sapp. He's 350 pounds; he can't fly coach. Getting all the right connecting flights out of Bulgaria can't just be done last minute.
"The tickets were getting more expensive, but it was never a price issue," continued Huggins. "Bob was actually very reasonable about money. It was the logistics and time. None of this would've been an issue if he wasn't in Bulgaria. That made the logistics really hard: there were major visa issues for these guys coming to Australia, they had to be consulate-issued. We just weren't getting the help we needed from Bob to get it done properly."
Huggins informed Sherdog.com that Palelei will remain on the card, taking on fellow UFC vet Brad Morris. Morris was originally set to face Jeff Monson at the inaugural Impact FC card on July 10 in Brisbane, but came down with a virus that forced him to pull out.
Morris and Palelei actually made their pro MMA debuts against one another in September 2002, with Palelei stopping Morris in the fourth round.