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Santos denies Askren's public statement about cancellation of title fight

One Championship (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Luis Santos clarified some things after Ben Askren called him unprofessional for not making weight at their supposed One welterweight title rematch last month.

In an email given to Dugout Philippines on Thursday, the Brazilian MMA veteran said, "I'm telling the truth. I got done twice, and the fight never happened on the dates I wanted. I had two weight cuts, but I just could not make a third camp."

An official statement from Santos two weeks ago read, "One told me in June that the rematch with Ben would be in August. They said the agreement was coming and that I should start getting ready.... Then I got a call 3 weeks before the fight, and I was told the date was canceled. Then they told me that the fight would take place in October instead. So I started a new camp, changed all of my training, readjusted my entire life, and began again. Then 4 weeks into this camp, they said again the date was changed, this time to the 13th of November.... When my management spoke to One Championship owner Victor Cui and explained the situation, whereby I had no money to live on much less hold another camp, we were told "we completely understand" and that he would talk to us and see what they could do for me. Five unanswered emails, 2 unreturned calls, and 3 texts later, that assistance never came.... The change of dates may well have been out of the control of One Championship's control. However, what was in their control is letting Askren know. Ironically, the only person who invested team, money, blood, sweat and tears for those other two dates, was frog. Two "mythical" dates that only one fighter knew about? Something smells fishy.... Why would One Championship ask Frog  to prepare for a rematch on 2 separate occasions, both of which 'fell thru,' but never tell the champ to get ready?"

The statement contradicted what Askren told the public that it was Santos' camp that wanted the match to be postponed.

Meanwhile, Santos expressed disappointment that Askren and One president Victor Cui called him unprofessional when he failed to get clearance to push through with the supposed championship match in Singapore.

"I have a lot of fights in my career, so it was inappropriate for them for me to be called unprofessional. I was not so much on top of my weight, but I never leave my house only to give up a fight," Santos continued.

He came to the weigh-in at 172 pounds, declaring him overweight for the match. Askren said he offered Santos to a 190-pound catchweight on the day of the fight but the latter turned it down.

However, Santos countered Askren's claims by saying it was Askren who did not agree on the catchweight.

Santos' statement continued, "I missed weight. That is unprofessional. Askren made weight. This is professional. I said I would still fight at 172 lbs. Askren said, 'No fight at 172 lbs.' The fans lost a great fight. The champ lost the chance to silence the critics. The challenger lost an opportunity of a lifetime. One FC lost money."

Meanwhile, He also said he is open to join other MMA organizations, although he still hopes Cui will still give him more One Championship fights.

"Victor is the president, and he does what is best for the organization. If he thinks I should fight I will prepare myself in the best way so as long as there will not be sudden change of dates. If he thinks I should leave One, I will follow my career elsewhere. I'm sure there are many other MMA stakeholders there. But I'm waiting for the decision of the President," Santos continued.

Santos, whose first match against Askren in the Philippines on April 24 was cut short by an accidental eye poke that declared their first One welterweight title fight a no contest, also looks forward at staging another fight in the Philippines.

"I was fine in that fight until the finger in my eye. I hope to have another opportunity to fight there in the Philippines," he continued.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno