Earlier this year, Artem Lobov requested his release from the UFC. Despite his popularity among fans, his request was obliged, and he entered a period of free agency.
Lobov’s free agency didn’t last long, as he was promptly scooped up by the upstart Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (BKFC).
Just weeks ahead of his April 6 BKFC debut, which will pit him against fellow UFC veteran Jason Knight, Lobov divulged that the offer he received from BKFC was actually part of the reason he requested his UFC release.
“I was not released by the UFC,” he explained on the latest episode of BJPENN.com Radio. “I asked for my release and this is the reason I asked for the release, because the offers were there on the table. So when I was looking at the six digit offers on my table — I’m in the UFC and it’s hard to get fights there, I wasn’t as active and the pay was not as good as this offer that I already have offered to me — it was a no brainer for me. I left and I was delighted to sign with Bare Knuckle. I was gonna sign with them back in August of 2018, but I at that time I really wanted the Zubaira [Tukhugov] fight in the UFC. That was the only reason I remained in the UFC at that time.
“Now that I found out Zubaira cannot fight for another year, there was no reason for me to remain in the UFC until there. I wanted to go elsewhere, make a lot of money, and then we see what happens in a year’s time.”
Artem Lobov also received a solid offer from Bellator, but says the money BKFC was offering was too good to pass up. BKFC also offered him a bit more freedom.
“They were best offer financially,” he said. “Bellator did make me an offer as well which was a very good offer as well. And if you look at MMA world, it’s probably one of the best offers out there. But I felt, especially having the Bare Knuckle offer on the table, I felt that the Bellator offer was not quite just there for me to sign.
“Plus don’t forget that my Bare Knuckle offer not only includes great perks, but I also have a Pay Per View points,” he added. “And I’m also allowed to compete MMA if I choose to do so, providing it doesn’t interfere with their shows. Which was a no brainer for me. I can still fight MMA. I can still do other things. And they pay the most money to me plus I get the Pay Per View points. So it was a great offer and I’m delighted to have signed with them. Thank you very much to David Feldman the CEO of Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation. I look forward to putting on a show for them and I look forward to our cooperation.”
While Artem Lobov is excited for his imminent plunge into the bloody world of bare knuckle fighting, he assures that his MMA career is far from over.
“MMA’s my bread and butter,” he said. “This is what I came from. This is what I truly love to do. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely am excited to do bare knuckle. Bare knuckle, how cool is that? For a guy like me, this is a dream come true. But certainly, there are many, many names in MMA that I would like to face off against. So I’m not saying goodbye to MMA, for sure. Not yet. Not for a long time. I will be back and I will cause some damage.”
How do you think Artem Lobov will do in his BKFC debut?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/24/2019.