LOS ANGELES -- Former NFL All-Pro linebacker Shawne Merriman has pulled out of his bare-knuckle boxing match against Mike Bourke, scheduled to take place this Friday in Casper, Wyoming.
Merriman had agreed to compete in the inaugural World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF) show, but a contract dispute forced the three-time Pro Bowler to withdraw from WBKFF 1: "Clash of the Titans" at the Casper Events Center.
Some things are non negotiable...like your time and health.— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) November 6, 2018
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".— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) November 6, 2018
Merriman had hinted on Twitter and in interviews last month that the fight was in jeopardy due to "contracts not being honored."
When WBKFF released the pay-per-view card and preliminaries for Friday's event online, Merriman was not included.
"I know you guys were waiting on my debut but it's not happening, at least not right now," Merriman wrote on Instagram. "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 insane amount of work to put on a good showing and unfortunately had to deal with people who don't like to honor guaranteed contracts. Big things are coming I promise you that, even bigger than what I planned before."
When Merriman sat down with ESPN.com last week, he hinted several times during the interview that this fight might not happen but he would be making his combat sports debut at some point, one way or another.
"To be honest, I don't know if this fight is going to go through or not, it's up in the air right now," Merriman said. "It would be very difficult if it didn't happen after everything I've been through but there's going to be another opportunity. I'm going to fight. If I see the right person at the corner of 7-11, we're going to get down. We are scrapping. I didn't come this far to only come this far."