The fighter has been happy with his signing and the title fight, but the one thing he’s disappointed in is the MMA fans.
“I guess the only thing that I’ve kinda been disappointed with in this whole experience, some — I’m not going to say all of them, because there’s a lot of people who support my decision — but I feel like a lot of the MMA fans are really disappointing in this thing, that they’re just big UFC people,” said Larkin on The MMA Hour. “And I always took pride in saying that MMA fans are really knowledgeable about this sport. They’re really knowledgeable about what’s going on in this sport, more than I feel like (fans are) with boxing and things like that. I just get this whole, like, ‘why would you go to Bellator?’ And, ‘you’re over, it’s just a B-league,’ and all this other type of sh*t. And I’m just like, this is good for the sport, man. There can’t be one (option for fighters). I’m not saying it just because I left. I’ve watched Bellator before, even when I was in the UFC. I’ve watched all these other leagues when I was in the UFC, so it’s not like now I’ve left them and now I’m just like this. I’ve felt like this the whole time. It can’t be like that, especially being a fighter.”
Larkin is bothered by fan perception that Bellator MMA is a “minor league” promotion. The company has made a splash in recent months, aggressively pursuing MMA free agents.
“They say ‘minor league’ and all this other sh*t, but they said the same thing about Strikeforce,” Larkin said. “Luke Rockhold was a champion, Tyron Woodley is a champion, (Daniel) Cormier, Robbie Lawler, Fabricio (Werdum). I don’t like Ronda (Rousey), but she came from Strikeforce. So it’s like, everybody has to know, this is a good change in the sport. All this free agency stuff and these things, this is like the evolution of MMA. This is like a turning point, that other organizations are starting to fight for fighters, and everybody has to understand that’s a good thing for the sport as a whole.”
Larkin’s last fight in the UFC was a TKO victory over Neil Magny at UFC 202.
Bellator 180 takes place on Saturday, June 24 from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York with Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva headlining. Fightful will be providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.