(Video via MMAFighting.com)
Bellator’s tenth season hasn’t even started yet and the company is already in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Remember the highly suspicious bait-and-switch Bellator pulled in November 2013? The one where their light heavyweight champ Attila Vegh conveniently got “injured,” allowing Bellator to book a much-anticipated rematch between Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Emanuel Newton (who really should’ve adopted the nickname “Kingslayer” after defeating Mo the first time) for an interim title?
Fast forward to yesterday, when Ariel Helwani interviewed Vegh in what looks like a dingy auto repair shop. Vegh spoke about the “injury,” but not before some prodding by Helwani.
“I was injured,” Vegh maintained through a translator when first asked about the situation.
“I did have an injury before, but I was ready for the November fight,” he then said. “I wasn’t disappointed, but I was ready to fight.” He claimed to have “internal bleeding” from a kick to the rib cage.
Helwani kept pressing while Vegh and his translator nervously fiddled. He wanted to know why Vegh didn’t ask Bellator to book him in the fight against Newton since, after all, the Slovak was ready for the fight. Vegh channeled his inner Dana White with his response.
“No, I didn’t ask them,” he said. Why not? “Because.”
“I was ready just in case if somebody would be out or injured,” he explained. Then the discussion drifted to other, less interesting topics.
Let’s get this straight. According to Vegh, the CHAMPION (Vegh) was relegated to being an alternate for an INTERIM title fight. Wow. Is that the most Bellator thing that’s ever happened? We’re not definitively saying Bellator screwed Vegh, but the situation sounds fishy to us, especially in light of this interview.
It’s also concerning that Bellator’s stable of fighters seems rife with discontent. Featherweight champ Daniel Straus was pissed off about former champ Pat Curran getting an immediate rematch. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, Bellator mainstay, earned a title shot by winning the season 9 welterweight tournament. Yet this recently booked rematch denies him of that. He was furious.
Bellator: Where title shots are earned, not given…unless you’re not quite as marketable or well known as somebody else. Then we’ll give you a title shot.