Heading into his scheduled fight earlier this month against Nick Kirk in the semifinals of the Bellator bantamweight tournament on Sept. 7, Joe Warren’s path took an unexpected turn.
Literally on his way to catch his airplane to fly to the event in Connecticut, Warren was told the fight was in jeopardy due to an issue with his pre-fight medical exam. What ensued was a series of events that ultimately culminated in his bout with Kirk being rescheduled for this Friday’s Bellator event in Portland, Ore.
“What it was, there were abnormalities in the images, they weren’t all printing the same,” said Warren. “I had to have another MRI and Bellator wouldn’t let me back in there until everyone signed off.
“It was like three or four doctors that had to sign off, which three of them did, and Connecticut just took a little longer, but they did sign off on it. I’m completely fine, nothing is wrong with me, so I’m thankful for it.”
During the time in which it took for Warren to be cleared to fight, he heard opinions ranging from he’d be cleared to it might be that he’d never fight again. When looking back on the experience, Warren told MMAWeekly.com that it was nothing but extremes from one day to the next.
“Every day it was something different,” he said. “One doctor saw this; one doctor saw that. It was just a freak of nature. It was like a needle in a haystack.
“It was ups and downs. I was ready to fight and everything gets turned around. So for everyone to tell me that, it was just a rollercoster for me and my family for a while.”
Now that he’s cleared and 100-percent ready to go, Warren (8-3) is focused on making his return to fighting after 10 months off against up-and-comer Nick Kirk (10-2).
“He’s a pretty talented fighter, but I believe he’s just a body that’s in front me to put a hole through in the Bellator cage,” said Warren of Kirk.
“It will give me an opportunity at the next round of the tournament. It’s one step at a time and he’s my first step. I think I’m going to put a little violence in his face and beat the crap out of him.”
When asked if this tournament was an all or nothing proposition for Warren, he admitted this could very well be his last opportunity, so he was going to make the absolute most of it.
“I think it’s everything or nothing at every point for me,” he said. “That’s how I lived my life with fighting and wrestling. I put everything into it.
“I’m not the young buck anymore coming up. I’m the older guy, and so let’s be realistic. I’m 37, so I’m not going to have many more chances to run for a belt. So this is one that I’m not going to let slip past me.”