Tonight’s Bellator 172 main event bout between Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione has been cancelled after Mitrione was forced to withdraw after falling ill.
In its stead, Josh Thompson vs. Patricky Freire has been promoted to main event status. The news was confirmed by Bellator MMA president Scott Coker.
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) February 18, 2017
The fight was set to be Fedor’s return to fight on American soil, after last having fought in the U.S. in 2011. It was his first contest on a new contract he had recently signed with Bellator MMA. Both he and Mitrione weighed in yesterday with no issues, but clearly Mitrione was unable to go through with what would have been one of the biggest fights of his career. While it’s unconfirmed, reports are emerging that kidney stones could be the cause.
With the start of the show only hours away, Bellator attempted but struggled to find a last minute replacement. Fellow recent Bellator signing Chael Sonnen actually called and offered to take the fight, but the too short notice meant that the fight was unable to be made.
Chael Sonnen offered to fight Fedor on just hours notice, I'm told. He was ready to go. Bellator was interested but it didn't come together.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 18, 2017
Fans with tickets to the event are entitled to a refund, so long as requests are made before the event officially starts.