UFC on ESPN 12: Khama Worthy Thinks MMA Has Become “A Big Publicity Stunt”


Khama Worthy does not believe for a second that Luis Pena intends to meet him in the center of the cage on Saturday. The lightweight pairing caps off the preliminary card on ESPN 12, and Pena has said in advance of the fight that he is ready to stand with Worthy.

Worthy isn’t buying it. In fact, he was shaking his head before we even finished the question at the event’s media day on Thursday.

“Nah. Don’t get me wrong. He’s tough. He’s solid,” said Worthy (15-6). “He’s a good kickboxer. But I know once we start exchanging and stuff— he’s out at American Top Team. They’re not dumb. They coach people how to win fights properly. So he’s going to be looking for a takedown.”

Not that Worthy will be thrown for a loop if Pena does decide to take the risk, and stand with him. “If he doesn’t [look for the takedown], that’s going to be even more fun,” he exclaimed. That might lead him to try for a takedown of his own, Worthy suggested. Especially given he’s been training with some of the best wrestlers around, “doing nothing but improving.”

With his “Violent Bob Ross” persona, Pena has won over a lot of fans. He’s got a large following, and a win over him might give Worthy his own boost in popularity, which began to rise after knocking out Devonte Smith on four day’s notice. It would certainly help get him further out into the public eye — but that’s not something the Pennsylvania-based fighter is worried about.

“I don’t give a sh*t about the public eye. Personally, I just want to keep getting better and challenging myself,” Worthy told us.

“I think MMA has turned into a big publicity stunt. When in reality, we’re in the business of pain, and business is booming,” he added. “I’m out here trying to hurt people. For me, I just want to fight fights, and he’s a fun fight. He’s an interesting fight, he likes to actually fight. That’s what I want.”

Pena certainly makes for some solid matchmaking. There’s a reason the pairing has been slated as the featured preliminary bout after all. And it’s the fight that interests Worthy, not the following.

“I don’t really care about popularity and stuff like that. It doesn’t matter how many thousands of Instagram followers you have, you still have to get in there and fight, you still have to get in there and do what you’re supposed to do,” he finished. And he expects a good fight from Violent Bob Ross.

Watch our full chat with Khama Worthy from the UFC on ESPN 12 media day above!


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