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For the third fight in succession Chris Fields will find himself watching an event in which he was booked to fight from the sidelines.

Fields, a longtime member of the SBG Ireland team and a former Cage Warriors middleweight champion, announced on Monday that he had been forced to withdraw from this Friday’s Bellator 173 main event opposite the organisation’s former light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary and revealed why in an interview with Newstalk’s Peter Carroll. The news of Fields’ withdrawal was first reported by SevereMMA.

Fields said it was an issue with his pre-fight medicals that raised alarm bells and despite seeing a specialist there wasn’t sufficient time to recover ahead of the event in Belfast this weekend.

“It’s a strange one. It’s not like I’ve torn my knee or something. I have a problem with the carotid artery in my neck. It will clear up by itself, but just not in time for the fight”, Fields said.

“It was picked up in a scan and I was told I couldn’t fight. I flew to England to see a specialist about it to try and get it sorted, but I couldn’t get it sorted. Basically, I can’t get medically cleared. It’s tough because I feel like I’m ready to go.”

Fields went on to explain that the artery in his neck was pinched and was restricting blood flow. The worry was that a strike to area could cause a blood clot which could lead to further medical complications. Fields added that surgery isn’t required and that the ailment should heal on its own within a matter of weeks.

“Of course I’m not happy that it’s happened, but this is the game now. I guess it’s just hard because I have absolutely no symptoms or pain of any description. I’m being told that I can fight and I’m in the best shape of my life.

“Again, I’m not a doctor so I can’t complain about the findings, but it’s just very hard to take.

“I felt like Liam was a great fight for me. I feel like it would have been a great fight for everyone in terms of entertainment. I’m not going to be able to do it now, and that’s devastating.”

Fields says that Bellator have assured him that he is still an active member of the Bellator roster, though the chances of the McGeary fight being rebooked look slim after the promotion opted to keep him on the card against Serbian fighter Vladimir Flipovic.