Friday, December 2, 2022

Impact FC Promoter Responds To Sapp's Claim, Announces His Replacement

By MATT BOONE
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer

Impact FC promoter Tom Huggins recently announced that despite the odd situation that resulted in Bob Sapp no longer fighting at Impact FC 2 this Sunday in Sydney, Australia, his originally scheduled opponent Soa Palelei (9-2) will remain on the card.

Replacing Sapp for the fight against UFC and PRIDE veteran Palelei will be another UFC veteran, Brad Morris (10-4). The two actually met before in what was the professional MMA fighting debut for both guys, with Palelei taking the victory by technical knockout after four rounds of their Xtreme Fight Night (XFN) bout in September of 2002.

This time both guys have some experience under their belt, with the aforementioned Palelei only suffering two pro losses — his lone matches in the UFC and now defunct PRIDE promotion. Palelei's last fight was on March 14, 2009 at the Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC) “Return of the Hulk” show, where he needed just 2:49 to finish opponent Leamy Tato with an armbar submission in the first round.

Morris has gained a considerable amount of experience himself, but also came up short in his two fights on the big stage. Morris went 0-2 in the UFC, and has the distinction of being the first opponent of current UFC heavyweight number one contender Cain Velasquez inside the octagon. Morris lost the UFC 83 fight to Velasquez back in April of 2008, lasting just a shade over two minutes of the first round before being finished up by Velasquez via technical knockout.

Morris had one more shot in the UFC, which was his last fight to date — a loss against Jason Brilz via TKO in round two of their September 17, 2008 meeting at UFC Fight Night 15. Morris has remained inactive since that 9/17/08 fight, but will finally return to action against his very first MMA opponent. It's almost as if Morris is receiving an opportunity to hit the “do over” button and re-start his MMA career where it originated, getting a second chance to achieve the outcome he saught the first time out back in 2002 against the same opponent, in the same country.

On the Bob Sapp/Impact FC front, event promoter Huggins had a completely different story than that of Sapp's version last night. As I mentioned in the previous article on the Sapp/Impact FC situation, “The Beast” has had a history of winding up in abnormal situations with promoters and executives in business dealings, particularly overseas, and generally at the last minute.

Huggins explained his side of the story, in-depth, in a new Sherdog.com interview today. The basic jist is pretty much exactly what I speculated last night: Sapp was being the kid who waits until the last day to study for the big test.

Huggins revealed that Sapp failed to sign the actual contract sent to him weeks ago at any point, meaning the fight was never legally official anyways.

He also claims the company spent three weeks trying to schedule travel accomodations for Sapp, which included first-class plane tickets due to his size. Sapp, who is in Bulgaria working on his film role in the new “Conan The Barbarian” movie, was in contact with Impact FC representatives via telephone, but even after lengthy business conversations Huggins claims nothing would change in terms of the travel and legal issues that remained on the table, keeping the situation frozen where it was to start with.

Impact FC 2 – “The Uprising” is still scheduled for this Sunday, July 18, in Sydney, Australia. The show features a headline attraction of Ken Shamrock vs. Pedro Rizzo, with a supporting cast that includes Denis Kang vs. Paulo Filho, Paul Daley vs. Daniel Acacio, Murilo Bustamante vs. Jesse Taylor, Murilo “Ninja” Rua vs. Jeremy May, and now Soa Palelei vs. Brad Morris.

Make sure to check out the MMANEWS.com Forums this weekend for up-to-the-minute live results coverage of the Impact FC 2 – “The Uprising” event, which has no North American pay-per view or television outlet.

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