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Ben Rothwell talks UFC, Adrenaline MMA, and whether he’s involved in a conflict of interest

Our friend Ben Fowlkes recently conducted an exclusive interview with Ben Rothwell at

Right out of the gate, Rothwell talks about his decision to sign with Adrenaline. Tell us about the new organization that you signed with, Adrenaline MMA. What’s your contract with them like and how did you decide to go with them instead of one of the other companies that offered you a deal?

I was trying to find the best company to go with. M-1 had been talking to me, obviously Monte Cox was the head of it and he gave me an idea of what they were looking at. I was trying to hold out while they figured out their business with Fedor. I had other organizations looking at me, but I wanted to wait and see what the best deal would be. Fedor’s management was just impossible to deal with, so that hurt M-1, but Monte and everyone else there decided, ‘Hey, we can still be an organization’, so they created Adrenaline.

They’re not missing a beat, because they had everything planned and now they can still go ahead with it, minus Fedor and the Russians. As soon as that was decided I got the phone call to get signed and I said absolutely.

It’s a good deal. Three fights, non-exclusive, so it’s a very cool thing for two reasons. Number one, I’m getting paid a flat rate win or lose. Now I can go out and just throw everything I have without worrying because I know I’m getting paid. The second thing is the non-exclusive thing. If there’s a lot of time between shows or an opponent doesn’t come through, if I a get a call from Japan I can go over there and fight. It’s very cool and I’m very happy.

 Showing his journalistic chops, Fowlkes comes right out and asks Rothwell if he feels there’s a conflict of interest being managed by Monte Cox, who is also the CEO of Adrenaline MMA:

But since he’s your manager and he’s been working on this new organization, did you ever worry that he might not entertain or really pursue offers from other organizations because he wanted you for his company?

There is that possibility, but that’s when the dollar signs come into the picture. Would someone else offer me a better deal now? Maybe, but I know what they were offering prior to this, and it wasn’t what I’m getting now. Adrenaline has stepped up to pay me what I want, and the other companies, they missed their chance.

With the non-exclusive deal, I can almost tell you, though it hasn’t been announced, that you’re going to see me fight in another organization this year. I’ll be fighting for Adrenaline and another organization. I can almost guarantee you that. With that said, I’m not worried about missing other opportunities because of this.

 I also found the following question pretty interesting…

Did you talk seriously with the UFC at any point, and do you think that a fighter these days still has to get to the UFC before he gets mainstream recognition?

The UFC is a big deal for a fighter because of the kind of recognition you get. So many people are watching it, so they are the big dog. They were interested in me, for sure, and they put offers on the table that weren’t bad. But there were other organizations that were offering more money and I didn’t want to pass that up.

I also knew that if something happened with these other organizations, the UFC would still be there. All I’m doing is building my stock and making a name for myself right now. Then, if and when I do go to the UFC, I have some name recognition, not just another guy who has to prove himself.

Two observations here.

First, Rothwell now has a lucrative three fight non-exclusive deal with Adrenaline MMA. I’ve read a lot of people complain that he’s managed by the same guy running Adrenaline, Cox. People complain about a conflict of interest, but I don’t see any downside for Rothwell.

The other thing I wanted to point out was the UFC’s decision to offer Rothwell a contract. In spite of so many promotions that are now in existence, we’ve yet to see very many bidding wars. In spite of their need for heavyweights and their financial resources, the UFC still opted not to get involved in a bidding war.

With the way the UFC is conducted its business, they remind me of the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, and that’s not a bad thing. The Patriots and Eagles have been very successful despite the introduction of the salary cap to the NFL because they always manage their money well. Most importantly, they never allow the market to dictate value. They evaluate a player and decide what he’s worth to them. If the player’s asking price is in line with what they are offering, they make a deal. If not, they let the player go elsewhere. It’s as simple as that.

Wow, did I get side tracked or what? Regardless, it’s good to see Rothwell signed because I really enjoyed his work in the IFL and would like to see him fighting again.

I took a lot of cuts from Fowlkes’ interview because there was just so much good stuff to choose from. There’s plenty more to be found by clicking here.

  • Evan says:

    ” I’ve read a lot of people complain that he’s managed by the same guy running Adrenaline, Cox. People complain about a conflict of interest, but I don’t see any downside for Rothwell.”

    Well, Sam…a conflict of interest is never a problem UNTIL something goes bad.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    … at which point it’s a problem for Monte Cox, not Rothwell.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rothwell in the UFC if he does well with Adrenaline. He’s got talent, but I don’t think his time in the IFL demonstrated how far he can go as a fighter. If he steps up to better competition and does well, he can legitimately expect more money from UFC, and UFC would probably be willing to pay it.

  • Evan says:

    “… at which point it’s a problem for Monte Cox, not Rothwell.”

    Unless his value is lowered by whatever happens in Adrenaline. That could be a pretty big problem.

  • slimm says:

    “i also knew if something happened to these other organizations, the ufc would still be there”

    Big Ben imo is saying hey, they (Cox) offered me the most money im a young pay me then when u fold im going to the UFC…. he is taking advantage of the fact that Cox is throwing money at him to make his mma organization work not a bad move on Ben s part….. hope to see him and Timmy fight soon….. cheers…

  • Ross says:

    I love Rothwell- and wish him the best- I wish he would of signed with Elite– M1 is going to be worthless!!!!!!

  • MMA-FAN says:

    Rothwell is a no talent hack that beat up on other no talent hacks in IFL and I am glad I will never see him on UFC or SHOELITE-XC


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