Ash Cloud Forces Wallhead’s Bellator Withdrawal

By Brian Knapp Apr 19, 2010
The Icelandic volcano ash cloud that has halted air traffic in Europe for several days will keep “Judo” Jim Wallhead from his appearance at Bellator Fighting Championships 15 this Thursday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Ryan Thomas will replace Wallhead in the welterweight tournament quarter-finals.

Thomas, given a second chance in the welterweight draw, will collide with unbeaten prospect Jacob McClintock. He lost to Ben Askren by technical submission after the Olympian locked him in a guillotine choke in the first round on April 15. Thomas and his corner protested the stoppage and claimed he gave no indication he wanted the fight stopped.

“While I am very disappointed that Jim won’t be able to make it to the U.S. this week, at least some good comes out of this situation, as Ryan will get the opportunity to step back into our welterweight tournament,” Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a release. “After the fight, I promised Ryan that he would be our first alternate for the tournament and, based on a natural disaster, his opportunity came much sooner than anyone would have guessed.”

The 25-year-old Thomas has never gone the distance in 14 professional bouts. He was pruned from the UFC roster following back-to-back submission losses to American Top Team’s Ben Saunders and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 quarter-finalist Matt Brown in 2008.

McClintock, based out of Arizona Combat Sports, has finished all six of his foes in the first round. However, the 22-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt has not set foot in the cage since he stopped Beau Baker on strikes at an Ultimate Warrior Challenge event six months ago.
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