The Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, the regulating body for Saturday’s event at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., deemed Warren ineligible after reviewing the medical documentation he submitted.
Bellator officials on Friday released a statement announcing the change.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with one of the best commissioners in the sport in Mike Mazzulli, and after carefully reviewing Joe’s medical documents, everyone agreed to err on the side of caution with the goal of ensuring our fighters safety,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney.
“It was determined Joe would be unable to compete this Saturday at Mohegan Sun. Joe’s been with us since the beginning and as is the case with every fighter here, it’s incumbent on me to ensure Joe is 100-percent healthy and medically cleared to fight before he steps into the Bellator cage.”
It has to be a huge disappointment to Warren, who hasn’t fought in nearly a year.
“The last year, I was supposed to fight a little bit more than I did, but Fight Master came around and a lot of other opportunities came around, so I focused on that,” Warren told MMAWeekly.com, referring to Bellator's new reality show on Spike TV.
A former featherweight champion, Warren was supposed to face Nick Kirk in a bantamweight tournament semifinal bout on Saturday. He said he had even worked with fellow Fight Master coach Greg Jackson in his preparations for the fight.
“I was able to have Greg help me train for this fight. I used everything at my fingertips to keep myself as safe as physically possible and to get in this cage and be as violent as I possibly can,” said Warren.
“I’m in a place mentally and physically that’s the best I’ve ever been in.”
Bellator did not reveal the specific concern that caused Warren’s removal, saying that the fight would be “delayed until further notice.”
With the removal of the bout from Saturday’s card, a preliminary lightweight bout between Patricky “Pitbull” Freire and Derek Anderson will now be featured on the Bellator 98 main card broadcast on Spike TV.
Warren's ineligibility was the second big blow to the Bellator 98 fight card. The Fight Master finale between Joe Riggs and Mike Bronzoulis was also supposed to have taken place on Saturday, but Riggs was forced out of the bout due to a recent training injury.