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[EXCLUSIVE] Bellator’s Joe Warren Talks Bellator 98 Health Scare, Getting Back to Fighting, and the Return of Olympic Wrestling


(Photo via Bellator)

By Elias Cepeda

Former Bellator champion Joe Warren was set to face Nick Kirk earlier this month at Bellator 98 in Connecticut before the state’s commission refused to allow him to fight. The exact reason was not given at the time but speculation from fans and members of the media as to why Warren was barred from fighting abounded.

Some wondered if Warren had tested positive for marijuana as he had during his competitive wrestling days. Even Bellator’s CEO Bjorn Rebney volunteered a theory – that Warren had been knocked out during his training camp and so was not being allowed to fight because of brain damage. Just two fights ago, of course, Warren was hurt badly in a KO loss to Pat Curran. That was his second straight KO loss.

Warren has since been cleared to fight in tonight’s Bellator event and he and Kirk will square off in this season’s bantamweight tournament. CagePotato visited with Warren as he cut weight Wednesday.

Not knowing how else to get into the matter with Warren as he stepped out of the sauna we simply had to ask, “What the heck happened?”

“A big mess happened,” Warren said.

“The Connecticut commission is stricter than most and I had a CT scan and MRI done leading up to the fight. I had three different doctors telling me different things. They didn’t read the images correctly and thought I had an abnormality on the image of my brain. One was telling me I had had a stroke, one was telling me I’d never fight again. Crazy stuff. Another said that I was fine. I was running around for weeks getting different tests done out of my own pocket, my family was scared. It was a huge ordeal.”

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Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz Are Giant Monsters in Bellator’s New Pay-Per-View Ad [VIDEO]


(Props: BellatorMMA via Reddit/MMA)

To promote their first pay-per-view show on November 2nd, Bellator has released a 30-second ad in which headliners Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito Ortiz are depicted as what the Japanese would call kaiju. Think King Kong vs. Godzilla, if King Kong and Godzilla were longtime friends who constantly complained about being disrespected by their former boss.

It’s a none-too-subtle reference to how BIG this fight is, at least for Bellator, whose long-term health as a promotion could be strengthened by a respectable buyrate in their first PPV outing. But as a cynical observer, I’m not expecting an epic clash of monsters in the main event. I’m expecting guys like Michael Chandler, Eddie Alvarez, and Pat Curran to steal the show as usual, while two old relics smush up against each other for 15 minutes before slithering back into the dark and mysterious waters of the Pacific Ocean.

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Tito Ortiz Attempts to Unite Fellow Disgraced UFC Fighters for Event-Crashing


(Tito Ortiz makes another stop on his global goodwill tour | Photo via @TitoOrtiz)

Tito Ortiz, Ken Shamrock, Randy Couture, Quinton Jackson and Frank Shamrock are all former UFC champions that are currently personas non grata to the organization and its President Dana White. (Not coincidentally, four of those five guys currently have some role in the Bellator organization.) For that reason, Ortiz seems to think it would be pretty funny if they all went to the UFC’s 20th anniversary show November 16th in Las Vegas.

@ShamrockKen @frankshamrock @Randy_Couture @Rampage4real maybe we should crash the show. I will buy the tickets.” Ortiz recently tweeted.

Apparently, some of the other guys liked the idea. Tito’s former mortal enemy, Ken Shamrock, tweeted back, “I like TITO’s idea,” and then, “I will stand beside you Tito. – frank lets go!!!!!,” encouraging his brother to join them.

So we guess to Ken, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Or something. Ken told Tito to send him a direct message through twitter so they could totally discuss deets, and then sent out a “hi randy” shout out to Couture.

Couture, who is probably smarting more than anyone else about not being allowed at UFC events ever since Dana banned the two-division UFC champion from cornering his son Ryan, then weighed in. “feel sorry for the security guys dana sends to have us removed :) hope they have guns !,” he tweeted, apparently still in character as Toll Road from The Expendables.

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Bellator’s Nine Hottest New Prospects for Season Nine


(Hey, if BJ Penn can be the UFC’s first three-title champion, then a middle-aged kickboxer can be the future of the heavyweight division. / Photo via crucifixusa.com)

By Adam Martin

Bellator’s ninth season recently commenced, and if last week’s opener is any indication, it’s going to be a fun and action-packed couple of months in the world of “Viacom MMA.”

During the summer, Bellator signed a number of new fighters that will make their promotional debuts during season nine, and we wanted to highlight a few of these hungry young prospects that fans should keep an eye on starting with tonight’s event in Temecula, California.

So, without further ado, here are nine Bellator prospects to watch out for during this coming season of fights.

9. John Alessio

(Photo via Getty)

The first fighter to keep an eye on this season is veteran John Alessio, who has been fighting professionally since 1998. After making his name as a top prospect fighting for SuperBrawl in Hawaii, the UFC fed Alessio to the sharks when, at just 20 years of age, he fought Pat Miletich for the UFC welterweight title. And while Alessio would get tapped out in just 1:43 and leave the UFC immediately afterwards, he returned in 2006 and fought both Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves, losing to both and losing his spot on the roster again. Never perturbed, Alessio then carved out a solid run in the WEC, MFC, Dream, and a few other promotions to get yet another crack in the Octagon in 2012, but after losing to Mark Bocek and Shane Roller — becoming the only fighter in UFC history to go 0-5 — he was cut for good. Bellator then picked him up and he’s been installed as a participant in the season nine lightweight tournament. Winning it, he says, is his destiny.

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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.

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Joe Warren Deemed “Medically Unfit” for Bellator 98 Tomorrow, So Let’s Speculate Why


(Joe Warren: Former Bellator champion, Fight Master Coach, Unconscious Nazi.)

I know, I know, we already agreed to stop caring about Bellator, but hear us out for a second. For reasons that have not yet been divulged, Joe Warren has been deemed medically unfit to compete at tomorrow’s Bellator 98 event. Said Bjorn Rebney:

I’ve been fortunate to work with one of the best commissioners in the sport in Mike Mazzulli, and after carefully reviewing Joe’s medical documents, everyone agreed to err on the side of caution with the goal of ensuring our fighters safety.

It was determined Joe would be unable to compete this Saturday at Mohegan Sun. Joe’s been with us  since the beginning and as is the case with every fighter here, it’s incumbent on me to ensure Joe is 100% healthy and medically cleared to fight before he steps into the Bellator cage.

While this is an interesting development in and of itself, it only becomes more intriguing when you consider that Warren was deemed unfit by the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation. As Old Dad said, “It’s not a good sign if an Indian casino won’t clear you to fight,” so let’s use this time to speculate as to why Warren wasn’t cleared to fight, shall we?

Conspiracy Theory #1: Obviously, this is just a transparent ploy by Bellator to move one of their more popular fighters (and the only Fight Master coach currently competing in MMA) to their pay-per-view card in November. Obviously.

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Lavar Johnson Joins the Ever-Growing List of UFC Washouts to Be Signed By Bellator


(Don’t worry, Brendan, you’re not far behind. Photo via Getty.)

I think I’m officially done giving a shit about Bellator, you guys.

I know, I’m sure Bjorn will be crushed to hear this news, but it has become more and more apparent as of late that Bellator has absolutely no f*cking idea what they are doing — it’s as if they’ve adopted hypocrisy as a business model. The dichotomy that exists between what Bjorn & the Boys (new band name, called it) say they are doing and what they are actually doing is f*cking infuriating, but today, I’m metaphorically tying my bedsheets into a noose and hanging myself before Bellator can check on me again, for it is the only way to escape this prison I have allowed myself to be placed in.

Whereas Bellator originally understood their role as an original, albeit secondary MMA promotion that delivered free, entertaining cards featuring up-and-coming talent and the occasional star (which, oddly enough, has become the UFC’s business model), it seems that nowadays they are truly content with reheating the UFC’s leftovers and having the audacity to charge us for it. Hence why they’ve recently signed such UFC washouts as Cheick Kongo and now Lavar Johnson to compete in their upcoming heavyweight tournament. Look forward to seeing these two throw down on Bellator’s next PPV card, Shamrock vs. Ortiz IV: BITTERER RIVALS.

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Interview: New UFC Contender Jessica Eye Steps Up to the Big Leagues


(Photo via Keith Mills/Sherdog)

By Elias Cepeda

In case you hadn’t noticed, Jessica Eye has been a Bellator fighter for the past couple years. The flyweight/bantamweight had been signed to the organization since 2011 but, like other women on the roster, she had trouble getting fights with regularity.

Between Bellator appearances, Eye stayed busy by taking fights for the Ohio-based NAAFS league. But Eye knew that her time in Bellator was drawing to a close even before the promotion recently informed her that they were about to release her and all of their roster’s female fighters.

“I’m a smart woman so I knew something was up,” she chuckles.

“It was getting to the point where, if they didn’t get me my last fight in June, they would have soon been in breach of contract.”

Eye nonetheless managed to take on and beat marquee names such as Zoila Frausta Gurgel and Carina Damm (who botched a drug test moments before their fight), compiling a 10-1 record and seven-fight win streak since her pro debut in June 2010. At worst, Eye’s release from Bellator was bittersweet.

The MMA world was not at all surprised when the UFC quickly signed her to their bantamweight division and booked her against Sarah Kaufman, October 19th at UFC 166. The Cleveland fighter, however, never took the signing for granted.

“I’m 27 years old and that’s old enough to have learned that you shouldn’t assume anything,” Eye explains. “But I did have confidence that I had done enough in MMA that people had learned about me and that I would get picked up by the UFC.”

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Obvious Statement of the Day: Dana White Thinks Tito Ortiz is “One of the Dumbest Motherfuckers You Will Ever Meet”


(For reference.)

It looks like there’s once again trouble a’ brewing between UFC president Dana White and UFC HOFer/lughead Tito Ortiz. If you recall, the beef between these two got to such a boiling point back in 2007 that Spike TV aired a special hyping up a boxing match between the two (one which never came to fruition, of course). And while it seemed that White and Ortiz had repaired their relationship for long enough to have Tito get beat into retirement, Ortiz’s recent signing with Bellator has reopened the trash-talking floodgates.

Things really kicked off when Ortiz compared DW to a slave master during a recent interview with Sportscenter:

I thought slavery was over a long time ago. It’s just one of those things where you can’t trust a word the man says. And when you can’t do that, how can you work for him? When you work for a person and they’re badmouthing you no matter what, how can you work for them? When you apologize for the things that did happen and he still goes behind your back and says things about you, for no reason at all. Dana’s thing now is bullying and he is one of the biggest bullies in the business. He’s a big bully. One of these days, karma, it always come back around. 

It’s hard to argue with Tito’s comparison when looking at the facts. As we all know, slaves regularly received compensation packages totalling upwards of $250,000 for their work in the fields, as well as top notch medical care whenever they came down with a bad case of “cracked skull.” In addition, it is a well known fact that all slaves drove Rolls Royces to and from their million dollar summer homes.

Being that White is slightly more aware of what gets said about him in the media than the average President of a billion dollar corporation, he responded with the vitriol of a “Ben Affleck is the new Batman” Reddit thread at the Fight Night 27 media scrum on Wednesday.

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Cheick Kongo Becomes the Latest UFC Castoff to Be Signed by Bellator


(“And stay outta mah goddamn onion patch!” / Photo via MMAFighting.com)

Bellator announced in a press release today that it has signed heavyweight striker Cheick Kongo, who will make his debut for the promotion this fall, and will be featured in its Season 9 Heavyweight Tournament. Kongo was released by the UFC earlier this year following a knockout loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 159. Since then, the 38-year-old has been keeping busy with his high-end clothing boutique in Los Angeles (seriously), but the lure of the cage was too great to ignore. As he explained:

After my contract was up in the UFC, I really wanted to take some time and reflect on everything. After talking to the people around me, especially someone like my longtime friend in Rampage, he told me how well Bellator has been treating him and what we can do with Bellator, and after getting to know Bjorn Rebney, it just seemed like the right fit for me. I know I have plenty of fight left in me, and my fight in October is the first step to getting that Bellator Heavyweight Title.”

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney added: “If you’re an MMA fan, you’re a Kongo fan. No matter who he fights he’s always going to bring the fight and put on a great show, and he’s one of the best guys you’ll have the pleasure of dealing with in MMA.”

Holy crap, let me stop you right there…

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