Forget twitter beefs, training camp struggles, or even fight night. For fans looking for the real drama in MMA, that goes down 24 hours before the fighters ever set foot in the cage. The real drama happens at the weigh-ins. And Bellator has turned in some doozies over the years.
Unfortunately for the Showtime based fight promotion, this week was no different. Bellator is running back to back events this Friday and Saturday, with multiple titles on the line. Well, that was the plan anyway. The problem is, at Thursday’s Bellator 294 weigh-in event, title challenger DeAnna Bennett missed weight for her rematch bout against current flyweight champion and former UFC contender Liz Carmouche.
DeAnna Bennett misses weight for title fight
Bennett came in at 126.2 pounds, more than a pound over the 125 pound limit on her third attempt to make championship weight. It’s the third time Bennett has failed to make the flyweight limit. As a result she’s now ineligible to take home the the title, should she defeat Carmouche on Friday night in Honolulu, HI. Given the opportunity to decide her own fate, Carmouche elected to keep her title on the line in the booking. So should Bennett defeat ‘Girl-Rilla’ in the Bellator 294 main event, the belt will be vacated, with neither woman taking home gold.
Liz Carmouche gave her thoughts on the situation in a media scrum after weigh ins.
“She showed up weigh-in day 11-pounds over. And then we were able to convince her and her fight team to continue cutting. She showed up and she was five-and-a-half pounds over, and the commission tried to step in cut the fight. And just like then, I said, ‘No, I want the fight. I came here to fight.’ Just like I am now. I came here because I’m a champion, I came here because I wanted to fight. Knowing full well that this is an opponent who has a far more consistent history of not making weight than of ever making weight.”
As for why she chose to keep the title on the line? For Carmouche it’s a matter of confidence and principal. She came ready to prove that she’s a champion, whether her opponent was prepared or not.
“It’s a risk coming into the fight altogether. I could face her and at least I know, because I did everything right—anything could happen. I could lose that fight, and that would have been what would have happened anyway, right? [The belt] just doesn’t go to her. So, at least this is us really putting it on the line, and me showing how much I believe that I am the champion. And how much I truly believe that it’s not going to be her.”
“This is going to make me want to be that much more violent. And to shut her up, and to see if I can’t push for her to get cut from Bellator. And not have to listen, and anybody have to put up with this anymore. That’s my goal on Friday night; is to shut her up and end her career.”
Ray Borg keeps fight cancellation record strong
For Bellator’s 295 card on Saturday, the weigh in flub isn’t quite so high profile or disastrous in terms of carrying the event, but it is every bit as—if not even more—expected. Former UFC flyweight title challengers Ray Borg and Kyoji Horiguchi had been set for a clash at 125 lbs.
It’s not a division Bellator has spent much time promoting over the years. They’ve never even had a flyweight champion, but it seems they were prepared to take a crack at opening up the weight class. For some reason, they chose Ray Borg for the task.
“I’ve made a lot of changes in my life in terms of not just dieting and how all that goes, but it’s psychological with me now,” Borg told MMA Fighting of dropping down to flyweight again, while also admitting that he was hesitant to accept the offer initially. “I’m not hung up on dumb stuff. I’m not cheating on diets, and I just have a really strong mentality going into [weight] cuts. My last three [fights] showed that I was first on the scale, first to weigh-in. The questions are going to come up, the doubts are going to be there, but I brought those upon myself.
“One thing I’ve accepted is I’ve had a bunch of bad weight cuts, and it’s kind of helped me move forward, and I don’t really eat from that tree anymore.”
According to an announcement from Bellator officials, Borg had to be removed from his bout against Horiguchi due to “weight management issues.” He never even made it to the scales on Friday.
It’s just the latest problem for the ‘Tazmexican Devil’ in a career plagued by them. At this point, the 29-year-old is more or less the uncrowned king of flyweight fight cancellations—having had 17 bouts in his 21 fight career fall through before getting to the cage. That puts him ahead of UFC contender Alex Perez at 14, and ‘OG’ flyweight fight cancellation legend Ian McCall at 12 (h/t Caposa).
In other news, featherweight fighter Chris Lencioni missed weight by more than 6 pounds for a bout against Bellator newcomer Blake Smith, who also missed the featherweight limit by .4 pounds. All other fighters across the two Bellator events came in at or under their agreed upon limits.
Bellator 294 weigh-in results
- Liz Carmouche (125) vs. Deanna Bennett (126.2)*
- Tim Johnson (262) vs. Said Sowma (239.2)
- Arlene Blencowe (146) vs. Sara McMann (145.6)
- Danny Sabatello (135.6) vs. Marcos Breno (136)
- Levan Chokheli (169.6) vs. Michael Lombardo (170.8)
- Killys Mota (156) vs. Kenneth Cross (155.2)
- Tyrell Fortune (259.6) vs. Sergei Bilostennyi (240)
- Cris Lencioni (152.4)** vs. Blake Smith (146.4)**
- Anthony Adams (185.6) vs. Sharaf Davlatmurodov (185.4)
Bellator 295 weigh-in results
- Raufeon Stots (134.2) vs. Patchy Mix (135)
- Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (126) vs. Kana Watanabe (125.6)
- James Gonzalez (145.8) vs. Aaron Pico (145.6)
- Charlie Leary (164.2) vs. Yancy Medeiros (162.4)
- Mads Burnell (144.4) vs. Justin Gonzales (145.6)
- Adli Edwards (145.6) vs. Kai Kamaka (145.4)
- Veta Arteaga (125.8) vs. Sumiko Inaba (124.4)
- Aalon Cruz (156) vs. Bobby King (155.4)
- Kasim Aras (251.8) vs. Davion Franklin (259.2)
- Bruna Ellen (125.6) vs. Ilara Joanne (125.4)
- Masayuki Kikuiri (169) vs. Alexey Shurkevich (170.8)
*Due to Bennet’s weight miss, she will be ineligible to win the Bellator flyweight title.
**Chris Lencioni vs. Blake Smith will move ahead at a catchweight.
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