Madsen speaks on Klose pulling out of fight

We had a chat with Mark “The Olympian” Madsen about what’s next for him after his scheduled opponent for UFC Fight Night, Drakkar Klose, had to withdraw due to an ACL tear.

We obviously heard over the weekend that Drakkar tore his ACL and won't be able to fight you in the UFC Apex on October 29th, what was the first thought that came to your mind when you got this news?

“I was leaving Fight Ready after a sparring session and I got contacted by an American MMA reporter. He texted me about what was happening. That now Drakkar was out. I hadn't heard anything about this, I mean, that was the first time I got the news. So I was super surprised. And I just texted the guy back: “What?!”

“And then I took a screenshot and sent it to my manager, Ali. He hadn't heard anything, which is very strange. He told me to stay focused and keep on track. And then he called me back a couple of hours later and said, Yeah, it's been confirmed. Drakkar is out of the fight.” 

What did that make you feel? Having spent the last three months preparing for this particular fight and now all of a sudden it's not happening anymore?

“I have three days left of my fight camp. That's a fight camp stretching over three months. So it's not like there's a lot of time to adjust.”

“Injuries are part of MMA. It's part of professional sports. Injuries can happen. We can’t control injuries. So, I mean, I do feel sorry for Drakkar. At the end of the day, this is something we do to support our families. To get bread and butter on the table. So I do feel sad that he's not able to get in there.”

“On the other hand, a guy like Drakkar, being that loud mouth and having said the things that he said leading up to the fight, being so vocal and then actually has been hiding the last several weeks. I mean, I haven't heard anything. Nobody has been in contact with him. I mean, it’s very strange.”

“I'm just very confused and very surprised. And I think at this point, even though there are a lot of rumors out there about different stuff, I think what I need to do is really stay focused and stay on track and stay focused.” 

“It's almost 7 a.m. here in Arizona. And in 2 hours, I'll be in the gym, I'll be working out. It's business as usual. I'll prepare. I don't have a fight yet. I don't know if I'm fighting on October 29. It's kind of a strange situation. But I will stay focused, I'll keep training, and I'll keep doing my best and hopefully, we will find a replacement fighter.”

“But I'm very disappointed about the situation.”

Drakkar has been in somewhat hiding for several weeks now. And then you got the news about this from a reporter. Could it maybe suggest that this is not something that just happened now and maybe this is something that he's been holding on to for some time? 

“I'm going to put it like this; I would not be surprised.” 

“And honestly, letting me know this late in my fight camp is a d**k move, to be honest. And there are some rumors out there, that fighters might have learned about this earlier, and have been trying to book the fight with me without me knowing, with me still preparing for Drakkar, which is a very, very strange thing. My manager didn't know anything.”

“From Drakkar’s camp, I think it's a d**k move. Not letting me know earlier that he was out of the fight.” 

“Injuries can happen. But I think the least we owe it to each other as fighters, as professional athletes, to be honest with each other. And if something pops up, I think it would have been fair game to let me know earlier.”

“Now I have three days left of my fight camp and it is what it is. And at this point, it's really about getting back to my focus and staying disciplined on my training.”

But with how the news came out and everything, does it surprise you that this was done, considering what you know about Drakkar Klose? 

“I don't know Drakkar personally, but I will say, given some of the experience I have had with Drakkar over the last couple of months, it would not surprise me. It would not surprise me that he could have kept this secret hidden for me for a, you know, a longer period.”

“But it doesn't really matter.” 

“At the end of the day, I'm still focused on having a fight on October 29th. And that's what I'm working towards.” 

“And hey, Drakkar is out. If it is a complete tear of his ACL, he'll be out for 8 to 12 months. I wish him a speedy recovery.” 

“But I will say this to Drakkar. I will happily wait for you for 12 months to kick your ass on any given day of the week. So take your time, buddy. Rest up. I'll be here when you get back.” 

If we consider the 29th, it's only 12 days away. Is it realistic that they can find an opponent that would live up to your standard with such short notice? And if so, who do you think that could be? And who would you face if you could make it? Apart from Drakkar? 

“Drakkar is out. I just learned about this yesterday. I mean, I haven't thought too much about other opponents, to be honest.” 

“Paddy. Paddy, the baddy. Paddy Pimblett is there. He's on my radar. So, I mean, even though I might have to wait for December to break him in half, that will be a fight.”

“But honestly, at the end of the day, it's up to the UFC. There's only so much I can do as a UFC fighter. I can train the best I can. I can eat, I can sleep, I can stay in my routine. I can make sure that I am as good as I can be on any given day when the call comes.”

“But this is up to the UFC now, and I know that they'll be working to find a replacement.

“I have so many questions.” 

“I did not plan for this. I mean, imagine going through three months of just complete focus training, eating, sleeping with one goal in mind with one opponent.” 

“We've spent so many hours doing video analysts, we prepared specifically for one opponent.”

“And then this pops up right at the end of the camp, which is unfortunate and it is part of the game.” 

“The only thing that bothers me a little bit are, you know, the rumors and the run up for the announcement that I learned through a third party invite business. So let's see what happens.” 

“I mean, I'm ready to go on October 29th and at this point I surrender the outcome.” 

Paddy Pimblett, he still has his opponent for UFC 282 to be announced. 10th December, also in Las Vegas. Would that be something you'll be up for say in a few more months and training camp mode?

“Paddy Pimblett will be a fun fight. Paddy Pimblett will be a very interesting fight.” 

“I don't think Paddy is going to take the fight, to be honest and I think he'll risk too much fighting me. But as I said before, when the call comes, I'll take the fight. Even if it means that I have to stay in training camp for an additional three months.”

“And I do believe I have what it takes to go in there and dismantle Paddy Pimblett.”

Image Source: Getty Images / Mike Roach