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SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Bellator light heavyweight grand prix reached its conclusion, but it still lacks resolution.
The tournament final between champion Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson ended in a no contest after an accidental headbutt from Anderson (16-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) to Nemkov (15-2 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) that caused huge cut on his eyebrow. The officials overseeing the fight Friday at SAP Center ruled it a no contest as since it hadn’t reached the three-round threshold to go to the judges’ scorecards.
It was a messy way to end the tournament, with Bellator president Scott Coker expressing that he wasn’t happy with how things unfolded and he expects to run back the fight later this year.
“It’s unfortunate the way that fight ended,” Coker told reporters at the Bellator 277 post-fight press conference. “I was surprised. I didn’t realize that his cut was so deep to the bone because I was asking (California State Athletic Commission executive) Andy Foster, ‘What happened? There’s only three or four seconds left. Why couldn’t they finish the fight?’ And he said, ‘No, the damage was too much, and we couldn’t safely move forward.’
“They have the rule here where it has to go three rounds to go to a decision, so there’s no tournament champion. So what we’re going to do is regroup and put that fight together in the next three or four months as soon as everyone is healthy and ready to go. We’re definitely going to re-run that fight. That’s probably in late summer maybe.”
As far as the logistics on how the promotion proceeds with the no contest, Nemkov remains Bellator champion, but the grand prix title remains in neutral hands until Nemkov and Anderson can settle it in the cage. The promotion will also hold the $1 million prize until the final gets rebooked and there’s a winner.
“Basically you have to win the tournament to win the money because the tournament prize is on top of the regular purses they get paid,” Coker explained. “So both sides get paid their normal contract pay. And the million dollars is just a bonus check on top of their pay.
“So in order to win that money, you have to win the fight, be the champ. So there’s no champ here, so it will continue on, and we will give the million-dollar check once we continue the tournament in sometime, let’s say, August or September.”