Bellator 226 saw Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader put his title on the line against Cheick Kongo. The fight ended in a no contest after an accidental eye poke in the first round during a grappling exchange meant that Kongo could no longer continue the contest.
Usually a no contest in a title fight would result in an immediate rematch but Bader was dominating the fight up until the eye poke and he also has a light-heavyweight title to defend as he is the double champion. There was also an altercation between Bader and Kongo’s teammate Rampage Jackson after the fight which could be an option for Bader as well.
Scott Coker’s Thoughts
Bellator president Scott Coker also admitted that he wasn’t certain that the fight would be run back immediately due to all of the potential fights on the table for Bader.
“These things happen sometimes with the open-finger gloves. If we’d run it back, it depends on Ryan and his next step and if he’s staying at heavyweight. Yeah, we have to do something for the light heavyweight division. There’s some unfinished business. I’m sure he’d like to fight Machida again, Gegard, the Rizin champ. He expressed interest in fighting for the Rizin title. Maybe we can go work out a deal for him to go to Japan and represent Bellator.”
Faked The Injury?
Bader spoke at the post fight press conference and said that he believes Kongo took the easy way out because of how the fight was playing out.
“I was dominating every second of the fight, if he wants to do it again, I’ll definitely be doing it again. I was two minutes from finishing him and he took the easy way out, I poked him in the nose, and he goes like this to get out of the fight.”
What’s Next For Bader?
Bader also went on to discuss the potential of fighting multiple opponents at various weight classes and expressed his disappointment with how the fight ended.
“There’s a lot of interesting fights, that’s what kind of sucks, I felt like I was a couple of minutes from defending the title and then moving on. Instead, I get a no decision. I dropped him with a jab and dropped him with two left hooks.
There’s talk about going down to light heavyweight, there’s a lot of fighters coming up. I’m happy wherever. I feel I owe it to the light heavyweight division to defend the title. I’m having fun as a heavyweight. I’ve done everything Bellator has asked of me and they’ll tell me where to go.
Part of me says “Let’s go next week”, but we put in a tough training camp. If I’m going back to light heavyweight, I need a little bit of time. It sucks. It’s been a long time since I beat Fedor in January and to have it happen like this. They’re accusing me of doing it on purpose. It sucks. It feels like he took that win away from me. If there was an eye poke, it wasn’t intentional.”