Ohio MMA fighter Sean Salmon a target of unfair criticism


We’ve seen scandals rip apart even the biggest professional sports, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that a recent column from Ohio mixed-martial-arts fighter Sean Salmon has sparked so much controversy.

What’s troubling, though, is that fans have confused giving up in a fight to throwing one.

First, though, some background. Salmon, a four-year pro fighter, is a longtime contributor to MMAjunkie.com (a Web site I run) and writes a column about the struggle mid-level fighters face while trying to make a living in the sport.

In his latest piece, Salmon detailed the situation. The former Ohio State University wrestler had been hired as a guest wrestling coach for the Wolfslair fight team in England. When he briefly left the team in early August to take a fight with the Ohio-based NAAFS organization, they essentially told him to come back healthy and able to train their fighters — or don’t bother coming back at all.

That stress, coupled with a recently strained marriage and personal life, eventually led Salmon (16-8) to give up when he couldn’t finish opponent Allan Weickert (6-6) in the first round.

“In the second round, he went for an arm-bar, I defended it (only to prove to myself that he couldn’t get it), and then I put my arm back in to give him the win so that I could return to England, healthy,” wrote Salmon, who detailed a trodden mental state heading into the fight. “Just so you all know, that is the most embarrassing thing that I have ever admitted out loud.”

Salmon quit, plain and simple. Self-preservation and financial well-being trumped his competitive drive. But he didn’t “throw a fight” as so many have alleged.

At any MMA event, especially amateur and small regional shows, you’ll see at least a fighter or two who simply breaks mentally. He’ll stop fighting off a submission attempt, will quit fighting and cover up, or will simply tap-out. Like Salmon, they just don’t have the heart to continue that night.

Criticize them all you want. But suggesting someone “threw a fight” — that he or she went into a contest with the intention of losing — is a whole different matter. Unfortunately, some otherwise intelligent and well-informed MMA insiders have significantly and sadly confused the two in Salmon’s case.

The outrage has already cost Salmon two future fights, and the Ohio State Athletic Commission has told him he must attend a hearing next month to discuss the situation.

Salmon may be guilty of bad judgment. Perhaps he’s open and honest to a fault. But he’s definitely not guilty of throwing a fight.

Dann Stupp is editor-in-chief of MMAjunkie.com, voted best media outlet in the 2008 World MMA Awards. For the latest mixed-martial-arts news, go to www.MMAjunkie.com.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Week 9 Roundup: Northmont, Alter, Bellbrook clinch share of conference titles
Week 9 Roundup: Northmont, Alter, Bellbrook clinch share of conference titles

Northmont High School quarterback Miles Johnson passed for 205 yards and two touchdowns as the Thunderbolts beat Springboro 38-21 to clinch a share of the Greater Western Ohio Conference National West Division title. Michael Franklin rushed 17 times for 115 yards and a TD and teammate Jestin Jacobs rushed for 80 yards and two scores for Northmont (8-1...
Northwestern defense steps up in ‘monumental win’ over Kenton Ridge
Northwestern defense steps up in ‘monumental win’ over Kenton Ridge

The Northwestern High School football had already experienced two heartbreaking losses in the waning moments of games against Shawnee and Indian Lake earlier this season. »RELATED: Shawnee boosts playoff hopes »RELATED: Springfield tops Wayne, clinches playoff berth The Wariors weren’t going to let it happen a third time. Northwestern&rsquo...
GWOC surprise: Xenia upsets Trotwood-Madison in double-OT
GWOC surprise: Xenia upsets Trotwood-Madison in double-OT

Xenia converted a two-point, extra-point pass in the second overtime to stun host Trotwood-Madison 29-28 in a Week 9 high school football upset special on Friday night. »PHOTOS: Xenia at Trotwood-Madison, Week 9 football »RELATED: Ponitz forfeits two games »RELATED: Week 8 football rewind That was just part of a wacky – and...
Springfield clinches playoff berth with first win against Wayne since 2010
Springfield clinches playoff berth with first win against Wayne since 2010

The Springfield Wildcats beat the Wayne Warriors for the first time since 2010, when the big names in the game were Trey DePriest and Braxton Miller, earning a 33-26 overtime victory Friday at Evans Stadium. The victory clinched a playoff berth for the Wildcats, according to JoeEitel.com, which ranked Springfield No. 2 in Division I, Region III after...
Shawnee blitzes Bellefontaine, boosts playoff hopes
Shawnee blitzes Bellefontaine, boosts playoff hopes

Shawnee’s playoff hopes got a big boost Friday night with a 34-0 victory over Bellefontaine. The Braves (5-4, 1-2 Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division) entered Friday’s game rated No. 9 in Division IV Region 16. Bellefontaine (6-3) is a Division III school. The Braves close the season at home next Friday against Jonathan Alder...
More Stories