Former NFL pro backs out of WBKFF debut

Shawne Merriman, a three-time NFL Pro Bowler and former linebacker, was setting himself up to make a debut in the inaugural event of the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF).  The event is scheduled to take place this Friday, but concerns over his contract last week began to put the fight in doubt.  Now, Merriman has announced that he is definitely out.

Merriman was set to go fist-to-fist against Mike Bourke, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) super heavyweight champ.  He announced that a last-minute contract dispute had forced him to put his hands down, but didn't elaborate on the issues.  He announced his withdrawal on Instagram, stating, "I know you guys were waiting on my debut but it's not happening, at least not right now. These last 9 weeks I found out a lot about myself and what I'm willing to do to get what I ultimately want. I refuse to compromise what I bring to the table for anybody. I put in an insanely amount of work to put on a good showing and unfortunately I had to deal with people who don't like to honor guaranteed contracts. Big things are coming I promise you that, even bigger now than what I planned before."

On Twitter, he spoke of the withdrawal, adding, "The truth about the fight is contracts weren’t honored period, anything else is completely false. I believe people who followed me long enough know I wouldn’t just “back out."

Merriman isn't the only participant that is putting the WBKFF's future in jeopardy.  Paul Tyler, the organization's VP and matchmaker, left this week, days before the first match. 

With Merriman out, the highlight of the inaugural event could now center on a bout between former UFC champ Johny Hendricks and Bellator contender Brennan Ward.  The fight will be held at the Casper Events Center in Casper, WY and will be available on pay-per-view.

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