(Whoa! Those are some nice hardwood floors!)
Although I technically have a Twitter account, I am not what you would consider an avid user, whatever that may mean. In my mind, the best addictions are the old fashioned ones: cocaine, air duster, and drunk driving – preferably at the same time. But if there’s one person out there I consider myself a “follower” of on the Twitter, it’s Felice Herrig, and it’s not just because she occasionally tweets out photos like the one above (although it doesn’t hurt). And after finishing off my last can of Gust last night (which we all know is the Rolls-Royce of air dusters), I happened to stumble upon quite the little story while perusing over Ms. Herrig’s account.
You see, Herrig was set to return to the bright lights of Bellator for the first time since 2010 at Bellator 84 on December 14th. Her opponent was supposed to be the 3-3 Michele Gutierrez. However, it was recently announced that Gutierrez had suffered a hand injury in training and would not be able to fight. And while we were just about to chalk up another victory to that God forsaken injury curse, Herrig came out of the woodwork to declare that not only was Gutierrez faking the injury, but that she had solid proof to back her accusations.
According to several sources close to Gutierrez, “Diabalita” had been planning to pull out of the fight for weeks now, due to the fact that she was 22 pounds over the 115 pound limit the bout was agreed to take place at. FightersOnly spoke to Herrig’s manager, Brian Butler, who furthered these allegations:
We heard through several credible sources close to Michele’s camp that she had plans of pulling out of this fight several weeks ago due to her weight being at 140+ pounds and that she was in fact NOT injured. We did not have hard evidence until we saw the postings on Twitter. We could not verify if they were authentic but they looked very convincing.
Michele refuted these claims, of course, even going as far as to post a picture of herself getting casted in order to lend some credibility to her supposed injury.
Here’s where things get interesting.
Shortly after Gutierrez posted those photos, Herrig posted one of her own, that of a screenshot between Gutierrez and a Bellator fighter named Erin Beach :
Unless Herrig is an expert in the art of Photoshop, this would appear to be pretty damning evidence.
Butler was quick to confirm the general shadiness of the situation:
Another news outlet posted on Twitter that they called Michele and confirmed they were in fact authentic. Bellator has found another opponent and Felice’s focus is now 100% on this bout.
Further thickening the plot was a tweet sent out by Gutierrez claiming that she was having her hand x-rayed on Monday, December third, when photos had already been taken of her in a cast on Sunday, December second. “I’m no doctor,” said everybody, “But I’m pretty sure that most people get x-rayed before they put a cast on their hand.” The exchange Michele allegedly had with Brandon Vera didn’t exactly help her case.
So basically, it appears that Michele got caught with her possibly-broken hand in the cookie jar a few too many times during her training camp, resulting in her getting caught with her possibly-broken hand in the cookie jar a little over a week out from fight night. Tom, if irony were made strawberries, we’d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now.
In either case, Gutierrez has been replaced by 7-3 Patricia Vidonic, who Herrig actually defeated back in April by unanimous decision. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s probably because Herrig’s opponent for her co-main event matchup at XFC 15 also withdrew at the last minute due to weight-cutting issues. Herrig’s replacement opponent for that event, InvictaFC fighter Carla Esparza, went on to defeat Herrig by unanimous decision, so let’s hope luck is on her side this time around.