Ben Rothwell: BKFC champ needs to ‘get out of the heavyweight division’

BKFC's Ben Rothwell tells Alan Belcher to defend his heavyweight title against him or get out of the division.

By: Lucas Rezende | 1 month ago
Ben Rothwell: BKFC champ needs to ‘get out of the heavyweight division’
April 4, 2023, Las Vegas, Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, United States: LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 4: Ben Rothwell interacts with media during the Bare Knuckle 41 Media Day at Palms Casino Resort on April 4, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. Las Vegas, Nevada United States - ZUMAp175 20230404_zsa_p175_034 Copyright: xDiegoxRibasx

Former UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell has found quite some success in his transition from MMA to bare knuckle boxing. In fact, ‘Big Ben’ is still undefeated in his newly found career after picking up a TKO victory over Josh Copeland at BKFC 41. The stoppage victory could even have put the 41-year-old in number one contender territory, but the veteran is not so sure whether the champion wants any of it.

Is Alan Belcher ducking Ben Rothwell?

In a conversation on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour, Rothwell explained how the current BKFC champion, former UFC middleweight Alan Belcher, may not care for taking him on for his next title defense. In Big Ben’s opinion, the ‘Talent’ may not be too comfortable taking on full-on heavyweights while he himself weighs in at roughly 220 pounds.

For Rothwell, however, the solution to the problem is quite simple. Either Belcher accepts true heavyweight title challengers or he needs to leave the weight class for a lighter one and vacate his belt.

“I’ll tell you, he’s not too keen on fighting me,” Rothwell said.

“His attitude, man — he’s just kind of not who I thought he was. He’s having problems. He’s a talented fighter, but outside of it he’s just kind of saying some really silly sh-t to me. He’s run into me a couple times. He’s saying stuff that I’m like, ‘Are you serious right now?’

“He has a problem with the weight class,” Rothwell added. “So that’s a big problem. He’s goes, ‘I’m 220 pounds.’ Well, that’s your problem. I go, ‘Get out of the heavyweight division then.’ What’s your problem?”

Alan Belcher is not the biggest of heavyweights

While Ben Rothwell weighed in at 292 and 287 pounds his two BKFC appearances, Belcher came in at a much lighter figure, at somewhere between 220 and 230 in his outings under the bare knuckle boxing banner. However, the promotion’s rules state that anyone who weighs over 210 is considered a heavyweight.

To make the deal a little bit sweeter for the champion, Rothwell is even willing to compromise a couple of pounds and show up at 285 pounds. Nevertheless, Big Ben still wants the title next and hopes Belcher can accept so the division can keep on moving. Otherwise, Rothwell suggests that Belcher leaves the weight class.

“There’s big thing going on right now about that whole thing,” Rothwell said, “because each state commissions it differently, or they’re saying different weight classes. So far, most of the states I’ve talked to were like, ‘Hey, it’s whatever BKFC says. We’ll take after boxing.’ But then some of the states apparently don’t do boxing or MMA, so they don’t know how to regulate it, so they don’t know if they should use this weight class or that. Whatever the case is, Dave [Feldman] said, ‘You be 285.’ I go, ‘I’ll be 285. Make that your limit.’

“I’ll be honest with you — come on, man, I’m not ripped — I think I can do myself a favor and cut down a little bit,” Rothwell continued. “During the UFC tenure though, I was walking around at 285 most of the time. I think it’s OK, I can get down there. And then I don’t have to worry about cutting weight and I’ll still be 285 pounds, I’m still dangerous.

“I’ll be 285 and then that’s it, it’s settled. So I’m like, ‘Belcher, that’s the weight limit. I’ll be 285, dude. You’re the champion of this division. You’ve got to fight me. So shut up about it.’”

Both Rothwell and Belcher are undefeated in BKFC

In his last BKFC outing, Ben Rothwell (2-0) finished Josh Copeland via TKO by way of doctor stoppage. Before that, the 41-year-old scored a knockout, in his promotional debut, with a KO victory over Bobo O’Bannon.

In his last mixed martial arts match, Rothwell (39-14) got TKO’d by Marcos Rogerio de Lima in November 2021. Ben’s last win took place one fight prior, when he submitted Chris Barnett in May of the same year.

Meanwhile, Alan Belcher (4-0) won the BKFC heavyweight belt when he defeated Arnold Addams via knockout back in February. Still undefeated in the sport, the 38-year-old scored wins over Frank Tate, Bobo O’Bannon and Tony Lopez in his previous outings.

Belcher (18-8) has been retired from MMA since April 2013, after suffering back-to-back losses to Michael Bisping and Yushin Okami. Belcher’s latest mixed martial arts win happened in May 2012, when he scored a big upset TKO win over submission specialist Rousimar Palhares.

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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