Johny Hendricks can’t help but wonder how much Bas Rutten knew about the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation’s fighter pay scandal.
The former UFC welterweight champion was one of the many fighters who were not paid for their work at the now defunct WBKFF’s inaugural event. Hendricks spoke to the Pull No Punches podcast with Kajan Johnson and Shakiel Mahjouri about Rutten’s part in the scandal.
“Dude, why didn’t you tell us?” Hendricks wondered. “He had to have known something. He had to have. Was he sitting here thinking along the same line as that guy… Why hasn’t he said anything?” he asked. “It sucks, the whole aspect of it.”
More than anything, Hendricks seemed to be in disbelief. “You’re looking at 19 other fighters. Lets just say the whole pot was $300,000. Where did the money go?” he continued. “How hard is it to stand here and say ‘be upfront?’”
Hendricks also put WBKFF owner Tom Stankiewicz on blast. “I don’t know what the hell is going on. I was going to back out whenever [Brennan Ward] backed out. Tom calls me giving me all these excuses,” Hendricks shared. “He’s telling me all this other bull crap. I said, ‘hey, pay me up front, pay me a check. — that was stupid of me, right — so he writes me a check.”
“Next thing I know I come home and he tells me, ‘hey, don’t cash it until Friday.’ I went to cash it and it bounced. At that point I call him up. For three months I’m sitting here trying to figure out what’s going on,” he continued. “At this point if I saw him, I’d be very pissed off. I think he knows not to show his face around and the lawsuit, yes, that’s something I can’t wait for. I’ve thought about hiring my own [lawyer] to go after him. Right now, I’m focused on clearing my head of everything and coaching my fighters.”
Hendricks ignored his instincts and went ahead with the fight. A big part in that decision was the presence of a governing athletic body. “It was a sanctioned event through the state of Wyoming,” he explained. “They have a state commission and everything. How did they get a commission to say, ‘hey, I’m going to pay the fighters out of my own money’ and not give it to them?”
Hendricks, 35, believes he has enough evidence to pursue legal action — much like his fellow fighter Chris Leben. “You can still get money out of him even if he’s in jail,” Hendricks assured. “He has done a lot of shady things in his life.”
“After the fight, he would never text me again. He would only talk on the phone,” he said. “All the text messages leading to up the fight is all I needed… That’s the paper trail.”
The heavy-hitting wrestler also broke down the wrestling skills of two of MMA’s greatest fighters: Georges St-Pierre and Khabib Nurmagomedov. “Georges wrestling was good, it wasn’t great. Khabib, even though he fights wrestlers, he is able to get wrestlers to the mat,” he said. “What made Georges wrestling so good was that people were intimidated by it because he was good and ground-and-pound. If he got on top of you, you know you were stuck underneath him for a while.”
“Not only that, but he was so good at timing the overhand. He got me with just one of those take downs,” he continued. “After that, I just started throwing straight punches and he couldn’t get underneath. He was so good at seeing someone draw back their rear hand, that’s what made his wrestling good for MMA.”
Hendricks retired from MMA in June 2018. He competed against Dakota Cochrane at WBKFF 1 on Nov. 9, losing via second-round knockout. At his best, Hendricks was the UFC welterweight champion with wins over Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit, Jon Fitch and Matt Brown. He also lost a very controversial split decision to St-Pierre.