A late twist saw heavyweight Josh Barnett pulled from the Bellator 235 card due to illness.
Josh Barnett was supposed to make his Bellator MMA debut on Friday night, with two goals in mind: work his way to a shot at the Bellator heavyweight title, held by Ryan Bader, and secure a fight against heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko. Step one was to get the better of another UFC alumni making his promotional debut, Ronny Markes. The backdrop, Honolulu, with Bellator 235 the first of two shows on the Hawaiian island.
The main event, however, never happened. Falling ill ahead of the fight, Barnett was pulled from the card, with news being announced during the broadcast Friday following a scattering of reports online. The turn of events is a huge blow for both the card, and Barnett, who has not competed in years following his battle with USADA while still under contract to the UFC — a battle that ultimately saw him cleared of any intentional wrongdoing by an arbitrator.
Bellator released a statement via social media addressing the matter. “On the advice of the Hawaii State Boxing Commission, tonight’s main event bout between Josh Barnett and Ronny Markes has been cancelled. Barnett has not been cleared tonight due to severe illness. Toby Misech vs. Erik Perez is the new #BellatorUSO main event.”
This just in. pic.twitter.com/4rT3UJovQB
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) December 21, 2019
The hope is that the fight will be rescheduled somewhere later down the line.