SAN JOSE — Matt Mitrione was hospitalized for undisclosed reasons Saturday, forcing the cancellation of his fight against heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko in the main event of Bellator 172.
Mitrione took part in the pre-fight activities throughout the week and attended Friday's weigh-in before he was ruled out only hours before the scheduled three-round bout.
Flyers announcing the cancellation were taped to poles in the parking lots and fans were offered full refunds.
The rest of the card went on as planned.
Emelianenko, the 40-year-old Russian who once crafted a winning streak that spanned nearly a decade, is widely recognized as one of the greatest heavyweights in the MMA history and was scheduled to fight in the United States in more than five years. The fight against Mitrione, a former UFC contender, was to be Emelianenko's first in Bellator.
Daniel Cormier was awarded the UFC light heavyweight championship Saturday night at UFC 220 after his loss to Jon Jones was overturned when Jones failed a prefight drug test. Cormier said leading up to the fight that he didn’t feel like a champion. He probably feels like one now.
The San Jose-based 205-pounder defeated No. 2-ranked Volkan Oezdemir by secon-round TKO to retain the title.
“I felt as if I was fighting for a vacant title because (Jones) beat me last time,” Cormier (20-1) said in a postfight interview referring to his loss last July.
“I fought for a vacant title and I got the job done so I’m the UFC champion again.”
Cormier, who turns 40 in March, nearly won the fight a round earlier. In the final minute of the first frame, Cormier landed a right hand flush on the challenger’s face. After securing a takedown and taking Oezdemir’s back, Cormier locked in a rear naked choke but was forced to relinquish the hold when the bell rang.
Oezdemir, 28, was given a second chance, but he couldn’t capitalize. Cormier dominated the second round from the beginning. The AKA-product once again took down Oezdemir, transitioned to a crucifix, and landed a barrage of shots until the referee called the fight at the 2:00 mark.
“He was so game. I knew he was a dangerous guy. He hit hard,” Cormier said of Oezdemir (15-2). “But once I was able to get him to the ground, I knew it was my world.”
And for now, the rest of the light heavyweight division is just living in it.
Oakland's own Andre "Son of God" Ward is calling it a career at 32-0. And plenty of noteable teams and icons showed the champ respect on Thursday...