On June 16th, Wes Sims took on Lyubo Simeonov at MaxFight Warriors 28. It was his first fight back since losing to Bobby Lashley in January of 2010. The fight was not one he was supposed to win, after all, everyone was expecting the Sims from the Lashley fight to show up.
Two years later, a more mature and in shape fighter, Sims had a lot to prove in this fight. He even told the promoter that he wasn’t just going to take the fight lightly and be a different opponent for Simeonov than his previous two.
“I told them at the weigh-ins that he [Simeonov] would have to turn around and walk away or would have to push me or hit me to get me out of his face,” said Sims. “I did that. I stepped up in his face and he refused to look at me. He looked down at the floor, then he stepped back and reached out his hand to shake mine at the weigh-ins.”
Once Sims walked out, he started to realize some things weren’t adding up. He looked across at the referee who as it turns out was also the match maker, the promoter, and the money guy behind the promotion. But it didn’t fully sink in as he was focused on the fight in front of him. And as he tells it, it was straight out of a movie.
“So they bring out all the fighters and put us in the ring and they play the Bulgarian National Anthem. I look around and realize that I am alone, by myself and this is straight out of Rocky 4. The fans all booed me. When I walked out for the fight, it was deafening in boos, but when Lyubo came out it erupted with cheers.”
When it was time to fight, Sims brought the fight to Simeonov. He immediately landed several jabs that had Simeonov backing up. Simeonov countered with left hooks, but Sims ducked under and shot for the takedown. The action was pressed against the ropes of the ring, and Simeonov grabbed the top rope and used the momentum to springboard Sims to the ground and land in mount. Sims gave up his back and then went out the back to work in Simeonov’s guard. The action was restarted in the center of the cage, and Simeonov was given one of Sims’s arms at the restart. He used it to work an armbar, but Sims slammed his way out of it. Simeonov attempted a triangle, but Sims was able to escape and worked ground and pound. Simeonov continued to threaten with submissions, but each time Sims was able to get out.
The action stalled, and the fighters were told to stand. Sims got up immediately, but Simeonov took his time. Sims rushed forward with a flying knee, Simeonov pounced back with multiple punches. The two clinched and Sims landed an accidental low knee. Time was called, and Simeonov stood back up to the delight of the crowd. The two fighters stood toe-to-toe, landing punches and knees at will on each other. Sims started to get the better of the exchanges as Simeononv was on the defensive end shooting for a takedown. Sims attacked his arm with a standing kimura attempt as time ran out in the round.
At the start of round two Sims goes after Simeonov, near Simeonov’s corner. A small jab by Sims and he lost his footing. He tried to regain his feet under him, and Simeonov kicked at Sims’s feet and Sims slipped and fell to the ground. Sims asks Simeonov to come into his guard, Simeonov taunts Sims and the crowd starts to boo and laugh. Simeonov finally decides to see what Sims can do on the ground and grabs his leg. The ref jumps in and waves the fight off.
There’s a lot that isn’t shown in the video of the fight between Simeonov and Sims. Sims recounts some major issues with the rules that were not followed.
“You have 60 seconds in between rounds. When one minute was up, I stood up and went to the center of the ring and said ‘Come on! Come on Lyubo get up!’ Lyubo was shaking his head no, like he didn’t want to go on. His entire corner got in the ring, dumping water on him. They were trying to pick him up off his stool and he kept saying no to his corner. The referee went to the side and turned his head to look away and Lyubo was given at least a minute and a half, if not two full minutes to recover.”
Sims goes on to explain what happened and how he fell.
“He refused to get out of his corner at the start of the second so I ran over to attack. I slipped and rolled my ankle. I went to kick and I couldn’t, he went to kick and I fell on my ass. I wanted to get up, but Lyubo would step in every time I tried to be able to get more recovery time. Finally he jumped down into my guard. I grabbed his leg and went for his ankle. He fell back, grabbed my leg and the ref stopped it.”
After the fight Sims was in the back recounting what happened and trying to nurse his ankle. Sims wasn’t aware of what was going on around the ring and what was being said about the fight.
“This reporter came in (after the fight) and she was telling me how everyone thought it was a fixed fight. Apparently while I was fighting, I was offered about 20,000 euros which would have been close to $40,000 to fix the fight in the second round. I told the reporter that I wasn’t aware that it was a fixed fight and then I started to recall several things that weren’t right about the fight including the time between rounds, Lyubo grabbing the ropes, and most of all the fact that I didn’t even tap when he grabbed my ankle.”
While the fight was initially ruled in favor of Simeonov, reports are coming in that pressure from the local media and other promotions are forcing the sanctioning body to change the result. As such the fight is likely going to be ruled a draw.
This is just the first part in a multi-part story about Wes Sims’s crazy adventures in Bulgaria. He was in the country for nearly two weeks and needless to say some shenanigans were bound to take place. Just a little teaser of some of the things that happened leading up to the fight includes a naked taxi driver, giving his number out on Bulgarian tv, being denied access to a club and more. Additionally the action didn’t stop when the fight was over as Sims’s fight purse was not what was agreed upon and when he went to collect the rest of his money he was met with a gun to his head.
Video of the fight with Simeonov