Artem Lobov praises how UFC promotes fighters, says ‘boxing is terrible at building stars’

    Artem Lobov believes that the UFC is still the best spot for fighters to make a name for themselves.

    The recently retired Lobov responded to a clip from The Ringer MMA Show in which the topic of MMA fighters pursuing lucrative opportunities outside of MMA was discussed.

    Regarding the notion that free agents are more motivated than ever to chase big money fights in boxing as opposed to just jumping between MMA promotions, Lobov replied via Twitter that the boxing world has its flaws when it comes to promoting potential stars.

    Lobov wrote the following:

    Also has to be noted that boxing is terrible at building stars, its up to individual to do it, UFC is the best at it and when a sport/promotion has no stars and wants to use someone elses stars, they have to pay a premium. Other issue u are hinting at is also at play of course

    “The Russian Hammer” knows a thing or two about star power having built up his own brand with the UFC and in the world of bare-knuckle boxing while also having a front row seat to the meteoric rise of his close friend, combat sports superstar Conor McGregor. Lobov, a cult favorite who went 13-15-1 (1 NC) in his MMA career, announced his retirement from competition this past July following a bare-knuckle loss to Olympic silver medalist Denys Berinchyk.

    Appearing on The MMA Hour earlier this week, Lobov spoke about how his past achievements and reputation raised his value to other promotions. He added that it was difficult to reject some offers that came in around the time he’d decided to retire.

    “It’s very difficult,” Lobov said. “The thing as well all this has been with some YouTubers, like in Russia, I’ve had in offer from Poland as well to box a YouTuber there. So it’s kind of like, wow, I used to fight really tough guys for 500 euros, now I’m getting offered to box exhibition bouts against guys that aren’t even that good and I have to turn it down.

    “Look, you’re a man of your word or you’re not a man of your word, that’s what I ask myself when I look in the mirror. There is no in-between with that. With fighters, you have good guys and you have bad guys and then you have guys in between. With your word, you are either a man of your word and it means everything and it’s worth everything or you’re not and then it’s worth nothing. That’s what I often do. I look at myself in the mirror and I ask myself that question. Look, that’s it, you made yourself a promise, now be a man and stick to it.”

    Lobov did not specify what YouTube personalities or promotions had reached out to him, but barring an extraordinary offer (Lobov has mentioned on several occasions that a seven-figure offer would convince him to fight again) he won’t be following in the footsteps of Ben Askren or Tyron Woodley to fight a Jake Paul-esque social media star anytime soon.

    If anything, Lobov is content with being remembered for not picking and choosing fights. It’s an attitude he feels he didn’t see enough of when he was active and he’s hopeful that this next generation of fighters shares his approach.

    “I want my legacy to be about the sport,” Lobov said. “Why is this sport so popular? Why is fighting so popular? What does it represent? It’s because people like to watch it because it shows courage, it shows determination, it shows heart. I think that I’ve shown exactly that. Courage, never turned down a fight in my life. Never pulled out of a fight in my life. Who can say that? Not many. Isn’t that courage? It is courage. Going into the fight with f*cking temperature, you can barely get up and you realize you’re just going to get an ass-whupping here because you can’t even lift your arms, but no, there’s no way I cannot show up to a battle that I agreed to, that I said I’m going to show up to. No way. I’d rather take a loss than not show up. That’s courage.

    “Heart, never tapping out in a fight. Being choked out twice and having my arm broken once. I’ve never tapped out, no matter what. Lost many, but never tapped out. Not one man can say that he made me quit, he made me tap out. Those things I want my legacy to be about that because I feel that’s what the sport is about and I feel that the sport needs more of that. To be honest with you, I see a lot more of that coming now. There’s a lot less record padding starting to happen. Sport is going in the right direction, I’m very happy with where the sport is going.”

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