SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST: Bellator scrambled to find new opponent for Fedor, including a willing Chael Sonnen (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor


San Jose and Fedor Emelianenko haven’t had the best of relationships. In June of 2010, Emelianenko suffered what was really the first true loss of his career in San Jose, a shocking submission loss to Fabricio Werdum that reignited Werdum’s career and signalled the end of the sport’s most dominant reigns.

Emelianenko was scheduled to return to fight in the same building as the Werdum fight for the first time last night only to have any hopes of redemption shattered when opponent Matt Mitrione was forced to pull out if the fight hours before showtime due to a health concern.

The issue turned out to be a kidney stone. Mitrione had actually mentioned a “tinge” in his side to Bellator CEO Scott Coker at the weigh-ins on Friday. The fight was called off mid-afternoon and will be rescheduled for a later date.

Chael Sonnen, who was on commentary for the show, was reportedly willing to take the fight, but Coker declined the offer stating that he had other plans for Sonnen. Play-by-play announcer Sean Grande said Fedor was offered other last-second fights, but Fedor turned them down. Fedor expressed on the Spike TV broadcast last night that he wants to fight Mitrione soon and expects to have an announcement soon.

A new time and date had not been set for the Emelianenko-Mitrione fight, but for Fedor’s sake, they may want to avoid San Jose.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: Kidney stones are brutal so I have sympathy for Matt Mitrione and there was no way he could fight in that condition. It’s still an interesting fight so I’m glad they held back on keeping Fedor on the show. If Fedor had lost to a last minute replacement, it would have blown the investment in money and promotion they have put into him.


-Be sure to check out Michael Grocke’s coverage of last night’s show here at capped off by Patricky Freire defeating Josh Thomson with a vicious uppercut knockout. It was Thomson’s return fight after a long layoff due to injury. It is Freire’s biggest name victory and helps Bellator make a case for him being a star lightweight in their promotion.

-After his win, Patricky Pitbull did an in-ring promo largely through a translator, but in the end, he dropped “mother f—-er” to close out the segment. Bellator announcer Sean Grande said: “That awkward moment when you realize his English is better than we thought.”

-Bellator is auctioning off Fedor’s “Glorious Sweater of Absolute Victory” for charity.

-Matt Mitrione released a statement on Twitter to those who thought he might have been faking his illness. “Thank you for understanding the misery I’ve been in trying to pass this big ass stone without so much as an aspirin,” he said. “And for y’all fools that have the nerve to claim that I’m scared or faking, come hold these nuts while I try to finally pee this stone out.”

-Louis Henrique vs. Marcin Tybura has been rebooked for UFC 209 on March 4 from Las Vegas.

-If you missed it, TMZ got Dana White on camera for a comment on the reports of Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather coming to terms on a fight. “There is no deal,” he said. TMZ cited reports that an unnamed third party was standing in the way of the fight taking place.

-Scott Coker commented on Twitter on the loss of last night’s main event for Spike TV.

MiddleEasy acknowledged rumors that UFC 208 drew terribly on PPV: “Rumors are UFC 208 was a near flop as far as pay per view buys are concerned. Early projections may place the final number of buys below 200K.” If that’s true, it is not only an indication of the lack of drawing power of Holy Holm, who hasn’t looked good since her historic victory over Ronda Rousey, but also an indictment of Anderson Silva’s drawing power in a co-main event at this stage of his career.

[MMATorch editor Wade Keller contributed to this report.]

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S REPORT: SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 2/18: Holloway will finally have chance to unify Featherweight Titles against Jose Aldo at UFC 212 (w/Cervantes Analysis)

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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