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Sean Salmon to Fight Yuki Sasaki in Finland, Moving Past Recent Controversy

Sean Salmon, who created a storm of controversy after he wrote in an MMA Junkie column last month that he tapped out in a recent fight, not because he was in pain, but because he was afraid of getting injured later in the fight, will look to get his career back on track on Oct. 17 when he faces veteran Yuki Sasaski at a Freedom Fight show in Finland.

Salmon's agent, Ken Pavia, confirmed the news with FanHouse on Thursday.

Salmon lost via armbar submission to Allan Weickert on a local show in Cleveland, Ohio, in June. In the column, he wrote that he could have escaped the hold, but was told by the Wolfslair Academy in the United Kingdom that if he got injured in the fight, he could not return to train with them, so he opted to tap out to avoid any injuries.

"I left England and was given a very serious warning: "If you get hurt in that fight, don't bother coming back." My opponent for the fight was 6-6, so obviously getting back to England to learn and train with some of the best was my priority.

... In the second round, I took him down again. He went for an armbar, I defended it (only to prove to myself that he couldn't get it), and then I put my arm back in to give him the win so that I could return to England, healthy. Just so you all know, that is the most embarrassing thing that I have ever admitted out loud."

Following the admission, Salmon's career was turned upside down with some calling for him to be banned for life from MMA. FanHouse spoke to the former UFC fighter on Thursday about dealing with this controversy and moving forward with his career.

Ariel Helwani: What's your mindset like heading into this fight?

Sean Salmon: I feel great. I'm not going to lie to you: it was horrible what I went through, and it was even more horrible because my words were taken completely wrong, so I was put in an incredibly unfortunate situation. It was obviously my fault because I'm the one who wrote it, but more because my words weren't taken the way that I intended them. So I was really down, just feeling really depressed for probably a good two weeks after that and feeling horrible about everything. But then, just like everything else in life, you work through it. It took me a while to realize that I know what I meant with my writing. It sucks that no matter what I say, some people are just not going to believe me, hate me, or not be fans of mine because of it, but that's not something I can control.

So what exactly were you trying to say in that column?

It had nothing to do with throwing a fight or benefiting at all by losing that fight because I didn't. I just had so much personal stuff going on in my life at that time that I quit. I gave up on myself [and] I gave up on my training partners. I was put in a tough position. Don't get me wrong: everything about that column came out wrong. Alan Weickert fought his a** off that fight. He put me in a very painful situation and the bottom line is that I do believe if I would have worked my a** off as hard as I could and the way I should have, I could have gotten out of that situation, but I didn't. I just quit; I gave up. That's the bottom line.

All of this happened a little over a month ago. Are you confident that you are over all your personal issues again?

Oh yeah, and that was actually the point of the column. When I wrote the first one, I was trying to talk to other people going through personal problems and quitting on themselves, and say, Hey, I'm coming out of this here. At the time, I was supposed to fight Dante Rivera at Ring of Combat, and I used that fight as an excuse to get my life back on track and sort of stop self-destructing the way I was. So I was talking to people in the similar situation when I wrote that column. Obviously, it came out completely wrong. But to answer your question, yes, everything else in my personal life is back on track. Even from my words being taken wrong, in a strange sort of way, that kind of helped me, as well.

How so?

I think that any time you go through something difficult and something completely unexpected in your life, and especially the way I worked through it because I worked through it the right way ... I was definitely down and sort of depressed for two weeks, but I'm coming back stronger. I used to care so much about what people said about me on the Internet or what they thought about me. I would always read about all these other athletes who would say, I don't get on the Internet; I don't care what people say about me. And I never understood how they could think that way. I was like, Man, I want people to like me. I care what they think. But after this, it's just one of those things that I just don't have control over. All I am going to worry about now is what I have control over. I feel like I am definitely coming out stronger on the other end because of this.

Are you now banned from fighting in Ohio or any other state as a result of that column?

I still have to have a hearing with the Ohio Athletic Commission on Oct. 14 [ed. note: Salmon will fly to Finland immediately after the hearing]. I've been told that my worst case scenario is what's called an administrative suspension, which Bernie Profato, the head of the Ohio Athletic Commission, told me unlike a medical suspension where, say, I was knocked out in Ohio, and they put me on 60 or 90-day medical suspension, no other commission would let me fight. You know, they all honor medical suspensions. I've been told that an administrative suspension is more along the lines of I did something stupid, so I'm suspended in Ohio, and not every commission has to follow that.

Is it just a coincidence that you are fighting overseas next?

Oh yeah, that was just a coincidence. I was training really hard for that Dante Rivera fight that was supposed to take place before that column came out -- obviously I was taken off that card right away. I took two weeks off to work through things, and I have been training real hard since then. ... We're ready. I'm in shape; I'm ready to go. He's a tough opponent. He's someone who scares, and that's why I fight. It's scary.

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