Brian Foster will not compete in the Bellator Season 6 welterweight tournament as originally expected.
According to an official release distributed by the promotion on Thursday, Foster has been deemed ineligible to fight at Bellator 63 on March 30 by the Mohegan Sun Commission. Foster will apparently need to undergo additional medical testing before he is allowed to fight, though the nature of Foster’s condition was not revealed.
Stepping up to replace the UFC veteran in the tournament will be twice-beaten Jordan Smith (Pictured, left), who now meets David Rickels in the Season 6 quarterfinals. Bellator 63 takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and airs live on MTV2 and Epix.
“Brian’s a hugely talented fighter who we were hoping to see next Friday, but his Bellator premiere will need to be delayed just a bit,” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney in the release, “but to pick up a rising star in Jordan Smith and place him into the fire of our $100,000 welterweight tournament is what makes great moments. The Mohegan Sun Commission is one of the best in the world, and we support their decision.”
Foster dealt with a pair of health issues near the end of his UFC run, suffering from a brain hemorrhage and a burst testicle. Recovered from both injuries, Foster posted a pair of victories in October 2011 to extended his winning streak to four fights.
A veteran of 20 professional bouts, Smith, 27, earned a 2-1 record last year, rebounding from a loss to former WEC staple Tim McKenzie to best UFC vet Karo Parisyan and onetime Strikeforce competitor Josh McDonald to cap 2011. “Mata Ele” has finished 14 of his 17 career victims and has been knocked out only once since beginning his career in 2007.
“This is the best opportunity I’ve ever had in my career,” Smith said. “This is the break I’ve been waiting for. What I like about Bellator is there’s a clear line of sight to the title.”