Joe Warren hasn't been medically cleared to fight at Bellator 98. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren will not compete at Bellator 98.
“The Baddest Man on the Planet” was deemed ineligible to fight at the event by the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation after the regulatory body reviewed the fighter’s medical documents. Bellator officials announced the news on Friday, though the specific issue that prevented Warren from competing was not revealed.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with one of the best commissioners in the sport in Mike Mazzulli, and after carefully reviewing Joe’s medical documents, everyone agreed to err on the side of caution with the goal of ensuring our fighter’s safety,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said in the release. “It was determined Joe would be unable to compete this Saturday at Mohegan Sun. Joe’s been with us since the beginning, and, as is the case with every fighter here, it’s incumbent on me to ensure Joe is 100 percent healthy and medically cleared to fight before he steps into the Bellator cage.”
Bellator 98 takes place Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and is headlined by a middleweight title showdown between Alexander Shlemenko and Brett Cooper. Warren was expected to meet Nick Kirk in the opening round of Bellator’s four-man bantamweight tournament, but that fight has now been delayed until further notice. Warren’s slot on the Spike TV-broadcast main draw will now instead be filled by lightweight talent Patricky Freire, as the “Pitbull” ties up with undefeated Californian Derek Anderson.
Warren, 36, has been known for his durability and chin in addition to his world-class wrestling skills during his Bellator tenure. The former Greco-Roman world champion captured Bellator’s featherweight title in 2010 but later suffered back-to-back knockout losses to Alexis Vila and Pat Curran, with the latter setback costing him the Bellator belt. Following eight months on the sideline, Warren returned to action last November, cruising to a unanimous decision against the overmatched Owen Evinger.