Matt Mitrione Steps In for Josh Barnett at Bellator 241

Matt Mitrione Bellator MMA
Sergei Kharitonov vs Matt Mitrione (left) Credit: Bellator MMA

As was heavily rumored the past several days, Josh Barnett is once again out of his Bellator MMA debut. Originally scheduled for Bellator’s trip to Hawaii in December, Barnett, who was booked against former UFC fighter Ronny Markes, was slotted in once again at Bellator 241. Once again, he was set to face Markes.

However, Barnett is out of the fight yet again, and will be replaced by Matt Mitrione. A Bellator official confirmed the news to Cageside Press on Wednesday, following an initial report by MMA Fighting.

Josh Barnett’s removal from the card stems from what the Mohegan Sun Commission called a “failed medical requirement” in a statement to MMA Fighting. “Mr. Barnett has failed a medical requirement by the Mohegan Tribe Dept of Athletic Reg and will not be fighting on the March 13 Bellator event,” Mazzulli wrote. “He will not be allowed to fight till he resolves the failed test.”

Matt Mitrione (13-7, 1NC) was last seen in a rematch against Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 225, where the former football player was finished by the hulking Russian. That fight came after their initial meeting ended early due to a painful-looking low blow that landed on Kharitonov. The end result was a No Contest.

Markes (19-7), after departing the UFC, made his way to the PFL. He last fought there in June 2019, defeating Sigi Pesaleli. However, competing at light heavyweight, Markes missed weight for the bout, making him ineligible to win points towards the playoffs. That seemed to signal the end of his run with the company, and his move back to heavyweight.

Bellator 241 goes down March 13 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The main event features a featherweight title fight between Patricio Pitbull and Pedro Caevalho. That serves as part of the promotion’s featherweight grand prix.