Ryan Bader was looking for the first title defense of his heavyweight belt when he took on Cheick Kongo in the main event of Bellator 226.
Yet, he did not get to defend his title but did not lose it either. Instead, the fight was ruled a no-contest due to an accidental eye poke from Bader. Now, after the fight, ‘Darth’ believes Kongo used the eye poke as the reason to get out of the scrap.
“I was dominating every second of the fight,” Ryan Bader said at the post-fight media scrum. “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,” Bader continued. “I poked him in the nose and he goes like this to get out of the fight.”
Meanwhile, for the fight to end like that was thoroughly disappointing for Ryan Bader. He was hoping he could defend the heavyweight title then drop down to light heavyweight and defend that belt. Now, that may be out of the question.
“There’s a lot of interesting fights, that’s what kind of sucks,” Ryan Bader said. “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 [to win the heavyweight tournament and title]. 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 way from me. If there was an eye poke, it wasn’t intentional.”
Ultimately, Ryan Bader is frustrated with how it ended and believes Cheick Kongo could have taken the five minutes and still fought but didn’t want to.
”You take your five minutes and we can go from there,” Ryan Bader concluded.
Do you agree with Ryan Bader that Cheick Kongo used the eye poke to get out of the fight? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/8/2019.