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Tag: Bellator 109

Doug Marshall Suspended by PSAC After Failing Drug Test; ‘Rhino Era’ Ends With a Whimper


(Still…how could you not love this guy? / Photos via Sherdog)

When middleweight slugger Doug Marshall got body-shot KO’d by Alexander Shlemenko during their title fight at Bellator 109, it put an end to one of the most unlikely career-comebacks in recent memory — a brief and terrifying period that we came to affectionately refer to as “The Rhino Era.” (aka, “Year of the Rhino,” “Rhino Time”) And unfortunately, Doug’s unhappy ending just got unhappier.

As first broken by TheMMAReport.com, Marshall tested positive for an undisclosed banned substance following his loss to Shlemenko last month, and has been suspended by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission. PSAC Executive Director Gregory Sirb wouldn’t confirm the length of the suspension or any other details, but we’ll update you when we know more. In response to the news, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney issued a short statement to TheMMAReport:

Greg Sirb at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission operates one of the best commissions in the country. Doug Marshall will have to adhere to any and every penalty that the Pennsylvania Commission delivers. When competing at the highest level, fighters are expected to train and prepare for their fights according to the rules and should fully expect to be tested at every Bellator event.”

“Expect to be tested” is an interesting way of putting it…

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Bellator Faces a Pivotal Crossroad Heading Into the Next Season


(The high point for Bellator. Photo via Tracy Lee/CombatLifestyle.com)

By Matt Saccaro

The ninth season of Bellator demonstrated what the Viacom-owned promotion is capable of when it’s given a platform on a stable, popular network—but can what season nine showed us elevate Bellator to the top while simultaneously revitalizing the stagnating MMA market in the United States?

It’s tough to tell, though we can glean a semblance of an answer when we look at an event that was simultaneously the high point and low point for Bellator during its ninth season: Bellator 106, the PPV that wasn’t. The card encapsulated everything that was right and wrong with Bellator.

What was wrong:

-Focusing on well-past-their-prime talent—Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz—and the “these guys used to be in the UFC” marketing line in order to sell a PPV. The cancellation of the PPV because Ortiz suffered yet another injury.

-The conclusion of the knock-off Ultimate Fighter, “Fight Master,” being won by Joe Riggs, another peaked-in-the-mid-2000s, ex-UFC fighter.

-The dubious interim title fight between King Mo and Emanuel Newton that defied the “title shots are earned and not given” mantra that made Bellator special.

What was right:

-Bellator’s homegrown talent like Michael Chandler, Daniel Straus, and Pat Curran being proudly put on display for the MMA world to see.

-Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez was one of the best fights of the year.

-The card being free on Spike TV meant it was the most-viewed in the promotion’s history with 1.1 million viewers.

These takeaways from Bellator 106 can be applied to the promotion’s efforts as a whole.

Bellator’s reliance on ex-UFC fighters in concerning. Rampage drew the second-highest ratings in Bellator history with 793,000 viewers in his fight against Joey Beltran, but banking on older, expensive fighters isn’t sustainable. At 35 years old, Rampage has a limited time left in the sport. The same goes for 38-year-old Tito Ortiz, who hasn’t even fought for Bellator yet since he can’t stay healthy. Placing the weight of a promotion’s future on surgically reconstructed knees and necks is a terrible idea.

Bellator apologists might argue that Rampage and Tito were brought in to garner the casual fan’s attention and in doing so promote the lesser-known, Bellator-made fighters…

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Bellator 109 Results: Shlemenko Destroys Marshall’s Liver, Hawn Batters Keslar

Bellator 109 was the final event in the promotion’s ninth season. Like most other fight cards, it had its ups and downs.

Of note on the prelims, famed wrestler Bubba Jenkins rebounded from his upset loss to Larue Burly at Bellator 100. Blagoi Ivanov, one of the few men to beat Fedor Emelianenko in Sambo and who recently recovered from near-death, extended his unbeaten streak to nine fights. Also, 20-year-old Brazilian prospect Goiti Yamauchi ran over Saul Almeida like a soccer mom in a Ford Excursion runs over a small possum (though the Brazilian was seven pounds overweight for the fight).

In the night’s first bout, Terry Etim faced Patrick Cenoble. This was Etim’s first fight outside of the UFC since the promotion let him go. After watching this match, the UFC is probably patting themselves on the back for that call. Etim won a pedestrian decision. If you like seeing a grappler lounge in dominant positions for 15 minutes, this was your kind of fight.

Fans who didn’t sprint away from Spike TV after Etim-Cenoble were treated to the lightweight tournament semifinal: Will Brooks vs. Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy. The first round was closely contested. Sarnavskiy landed a few crisp combinations, as did Brooks. The American slowed the pace in the second round, employing the grinding style which he’s become known for. “Tiger” became a kitten under Brooks’ pressure. Brooks outclassed Sarnavskiy in the latter 10 minutes of the fight. He was stronger, better conditioned, and a superior grappler. He earned a unanimous decision victory.

Also on the card…

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And Now He’s Fired (Again): Matt Riddle Released By Bellator After Pulling Out of Second Straight Event

 
(Funny how this moment more or less serves as a metaphor for the past two years of Riddle’s life.) 

Ever since being ousted from the UFC following his second positive test for marijuana in his past three fights, Matt Riddle‘s MMA career has suffered more setbacks than the Obamacare website (#nailedit). First, he signed with Legacy Fighting Championships, only to have his contract bought out by Bellator before ever stepping foot in the LFC cage. He was then entered in the Bellator season 9 welterweight tournament, except that shortly thereafter, he injured his rib and decided to retire from the sport to find a “real job.” Except that less than a month later, Riddle announced his unretirement and accepted a fight at Bellator 109.

Unfortunately for Riddle, it looks like he will have to start looking for a “real job” once again (I hear Josh Rosenthal is seeking an understudy/mule), as he has now been released from his Bellator contract after pulling out of his second straight fight. Said Bellator Director of Communications Anthony Mazzuca in a prepared statement (via MMAFighting):

Matt was a guy we had high hopes for coming into Bellator. After Matt suffered his rib injury and withdrew from our tournament, we went back to the drawing board and got Matt another fight on November 22nd.

Unfortunately, Matt very recently informed us he would not be fighting on November 22nd from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and at that point we decided to release Matt from Bellator. We wish him the best in his future endeavors. 

Further muddying the “Deep Waters” (I’m so sorry, you guys) is the fact that no solid reasoning has been given for Riddle’s withdrawal from the card. As you might expect, Riddle’s scheduled opponent, Nathan Coy, is understandably pissed…

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Bellator Was Just Kidding About Giving Rampage vs. Beltran Top Billing Over Shlemenko vs. Marshall


(Two unrelated Bellator stories on the same day? Tell us how you feel, Mugatu.)

When Quinton Jackson vs. Joey Beltran was announced as the main event of Bellator 108 (November 15th, Atlantic City), we couldn’t help but roll our eyes. Not only does Jackson/Beltran have the potential to be a sloppy, gassy brawl, it’s kind of a slap in the face to Alexander Shlemenko and Doug “The Rhino” Marshall, who were scheduled to face off in a middleweight title fight that same night. Keep in mind, Shlemenko is one of the most exciting and successful competitors in Bellator’s history, and Marshall has “Comeback MMA Fighter of 2013″ locked up if he manages to win this one — and yet they’ll be playing second fiddle to a couple of one-dimensional UFC refugees? Doesn’t seem fair to us.

Luckily, Bellator seems to have heard these complaints, because they just did a little flip-flopping with their event schedule. As confirmed by the promotion today, Shlemenko vs. Marshall will be pushed back one week so it can headline Bellator 109 (November 22nd; Bethlehem, PA), while the heavyweight title fight between Alexander Volkov and Vitaly Minakov has now been moved up from the main event of Bellator 109 to the co-main event of Bellator 108.

In other words, Rampage vs. Beltran will still be main-eventing over a title fight, but now it’s a title fight between two Russian dudes who you probably don’t care about. Plus, Rampage will likely be pulling out of his fight with an injury next week anyway. So good work, Bellator, you guys are on a roll lately. The full fight lineups for Bellator 108 and 109 are after the jump…

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Matt Riddle Reconsiders Getting Real Job, Will Unretire at Bellator 109 Next Month


(Riddle’s “odd jobs” included stunt-work for the Dude, You’re Getting a Dell guy. / Screen-cap via mmanytt.se)

Last month, UFC veteran turned Bellator-signee Matt Riddle quit MMA in a fit of anger, vowing to get a normal job rather than put up with the constant frustrations of injuries and unsteady work in the fight game. Since then, Riddle has been sitting on his couch, taking giant bong rips and hearing from his non-fighter friends about what a pain in the ass it is to have a normal job. Unsurprisingly, he’s come to his senses.

MMAJunkie breaks the news that Riddle has unretired — throw a quarter in the jar, buddy — and is now re-scheduled to make his Bellator debut at Bellator 109, November 22nd at the Sands Casino Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Riddle’s home state. An opponent has not been named yet. As the Junkie article explains:

Riddle said “odd jobs” have been bringing some money in since his announcement, and he was prepared to keep earning that way if he stayed retired. But that’s not what he wanted.

“I know how to do stuff, so I was doing handyman stuff and making money that way,” he said. “But I’d rather make money in the cage. I really didn’t want to retire. I’m in my prime – I’m 27.”

And so, Bellator hangs on to one of their hottest prospects, and the world loses another handyman. Bittersweet, really.

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