Earlier this month at Bellator 172, UFC veteran Matt Mitrione was set to step into the Bellator MMA cage against MMA icon Fedor Emelianenko for a highly anticipated scrap that would serve as Emelianenko’s return to the United States following his return to MMA at the end of 2015.
Unfortunately after months of buildup, training, and anticipation, Mitrione was pulled from the fight just hours before he an Emelianenko were set to throw down due to kidney stones that required hospitalization, and will subsequently result in the UFC vet undergoing surgery to deal with the situation.
Interestingly enough, when it was revealed that Mitrione had been pulled from the scrap, former UFC title challenger turned Bellator MMA fighter Chael Sonnen offered to step in on short notice in hopes of bouncing back from his 1st round submission loss to Tito Ortiz earlier this year.
He spoke to MMAJunkie:
“I thought Coker really went to the next best thing,” Sonnen told MMAjunkie. “I think everybody in that house left happy and with a smile on their face. They deserve a lot of credit for what they did and what they faced less than 24 hours from bell time.”
“I was the only guy that offered (to step in), and I was trying to get myself involved there,” Sonnen said. “Bellator wanted Oli Thompson. He was on the card, he had already weighed in, and he was going to fight Cheick Kongo. So they wanted to move him from the Cheick Kongo fight to the Fedor fight. We were the only names that were taken to Fedor. …
“The first rule in show business is that the show must go on. I didn’t really think of it as too much of a courageous gesture on my part or anything like that. I’m a fighter; he’s a fighter. I’m there; he’s there. It seemed like pretty simple math to me.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/25/2017.