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Bellator News Roundup: Cheick Kongo’s Debut Opponent Announced, Why Joe Warren Was Medically Ineligible for Saturday’s Card, And The Arm Collector Retires

(Step 1: Pretend that you’ve suddenly gone blind. Step 2: Hope that Cheick Kongo takes pity on you. Step 3: ???. Step 4: Profit. / Mark Godbeer photo via Sherdog)

I’m sure Jared won’t be reading this post, but for those of you who still care about Bellator, listen up:

New Bellator heavyweight/recent UFC castoff Cheick Kongo has gotten his first booking in the circular cage. Bellator has confirmed that Kongo will meet Mark Godbeer at Bellator 101, September 27th in Portland. Yes, “Mark Godbeer” sounds like a made-up name. But apparently he’s a real guy with a punny nickname and an 8-1 record earned on the UK circuit.

The 6’4″ 29-year-old last competed at BAMMA 9 in March 2012, where he scored a corner-stoppage TKO victory against Catalin Zmarandescu. Godbeer was scheduled to make his Bellator debut against Ron Sparks last October, but a back injury put him out of action. None of Godbeer’s fights have lasted past the second round. Alright, so he’s not world-class, but Bellator could have done worse for Kongo’s first victim Bellator. Then again, those 18 months of ring rust won’t be doing the Brit any favors.

— We now have an actual explanation for Joe Warren being declared medically unfit to compete at Saturday’s Bellator 98 card against Nick Kirk. According to an MMAFighting report, Warren was recently knocked out during sparring, and Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulations commissioner Mike Mazzulli canceled the bout after seeing the medical report. Though Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney wouldn’t confirm the reason behind Warren’s withdrawal from this weekend’s event, he did say that the Fight Master coach could be off suspension within 2-3 weeks.

Knockouts during MMA training sessions are an unfortunately common occurrence — especially when puppies are on the line — but the fact that this happened so close to the event should raise concerns. Was this just a freak accident? Considering the brutal KO’s that Warren has previously suffered against Alexis Vila and Pat Curran, you have to wonder if his chin (and brain) are starting to deteriorate to the point where he can’t even make it through a friendly sparring session without getting shut off.

— And finally, one of MMA’s greatest one-trick ponies has called it a day. Following his TKO loss to undefeated prospect Jason Butcher at Bellator 98 Saturday, Brazilian middleweight Giva “The Arm Collector” Santana has retired from competition at the age of 41. Santana leaves behind an 18-3 record, with 13 of those wins by armbar.

“As time goes by, you start to feel things more and more until you feel it’s time to stop,” Santana said after the fight. “After training for years, the body starts to complain about the injuries that pile up. I told everyone I was fine for this fight, but actually I had an injured arm and ribcage from sparring in Rio de Janeiro. This rib injury, especially, really affected my training. But it was an accident. I thought I broke a rib, but gladly that wasn’t the case. It was the cartilage. These things happen. When I came back from Rio, I tried to continue training but I couldn’t all I wanted…

“I wish to serve as an example,” he said. “I want to be a good example for those kids learning the sport. If they see something in my game they like, by all means, use it. What doesn’t work so well, they don’t have to use. I also wish to be an example of good diet, health and longevity.”

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