As if the possibility of losing middleweight champion Hector Lombard to the UFCwasn’t enough of a hurdle now Bellator face possible complications with theirseason 6 middleweight tournament thanks to Andreas Spang.
In the middleweight semifinals at BFC 66 April 20th Spang defeated BrianRogers. Rogers was definitely one of thefavorites to win the tournament whileSpang was a replacement for Giva Santana who was injured in the quarterfinals. After decisively winning the first round andmuch of the second Rogers threw a punch and didn’t cover leaving himself wideopen for a counter left hook which Spang threw, knocking out the fan favorite.
Having a possibly one-sided finals wouldn’t be terrible as the nature of atournament structure dictates such odds occasionally happening. The problem is the finals may be postponedpast season 6.
At the weigh-ins the day before BFC 66 Spang shoved Rogers, itself a relativelyminor offense that would warrant a warning or fine. Unfortunately after the fight when the otherfinalist Maiquel Falcao was brought into the cage for a faceoff Spang shovedhim too, this time on live television. That makes two offenses in about 36 hours.
By contrast at Strikeforce’s infamous post-fight brawl in the cage between JasonMiller and the corner of Jake Shields six fighters were given three-monthsuspensions and fines ranging from $5,000 top $7,500. In that scenario there were more punchesthrown but Spang had two offenses in about 36 hours, not onesnowball-into-avalanche of a situation. If a suspension is levied against Spang for the two incidents that wouldmean he couldn’t fight until after season 6 concludes in four more shows.
At the post-fight press conference Spang went through the motions ofapologizing to Bellator and to Falcao while Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney expressedbelief the punishment would be monetary and the finals would happen thisseason. No comment has so far been madefrom the athletic commission.
If the finals do get postponed beyond this season it won’t be the firsttime. Season 5’s heavyweight tournamentfinals resulted in a “no contest” between Eric Prindle and Thiago Santosresulting in a rematch that was supposed to be held this season but was eventuallycalled off in favor of Prindle (see archives). Meanwhile heavyweight champion Cole Konrad hasn’t fought in Bellatorsince last August, a non-title fight win over Paul Buentello.
As if all this wasn’t enough uncertainty for Bellator’s middleweight divisionseason 5 middleweight tournament winner (supposed to be Lombard’s nextopponent) Alexander Shlemenko llike Lombard has been fighting in other shows (FEFoMPin Russia and SFL 2 in India). Nocomment is currently available on if Shlemenko will stay with Bellator or whenhis contract expires.
More on the decision whether to match the UFC offer for Lombard and thedecision of the OH athletic commission on Spohn is expected this week. Stay tuned, it could get interesting just intime for the summer series.