Just as Bellator went to commercial at about 8:10 p.m. ET tonight, you knew something was wrong.
Russian striking stud Shahbulat Shamhalaev, who had advanced to the Bellator season seven featherweight tournament finals with two vicious first round knockouts, was visibly flustered, kicking over a chair backstage. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney was also carefully explaining something to Shamhalaev's opponent, Rad Martinez as well.
By the time the break was over, Rebney was live to reveal the bad news.
The main event was off. Apparently Shamhalaev had suffered food poisoning and the commission had witnessed him vomiting profusely backstage. With the fighter unable to compete, they were forced to cancel the fight. Bleacher Report's Matt Roth informs me that Shamhalaev was sent to the ER following the announcement due to "uncontrolled vomiting" after getting word directly from Nick Lembo of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission.
This left the show with only two televised fights, although the promotion quickly scooped up rising lightweight stud Darrel Horcher, who was slated to compete after the main card was over and put his fight against UFC veteran Chris Liguori on the televised portion of the card. Horcher would go on to win a unanimous decision after laying a serious beating on the New Jersey native in the first round.
Rebney announced that the Shamhalaev vs. Martinez bout will still happen, but it will be pushed back to next Friday night (Dec. 14, 2012) on the Bellator 84 main card in Hammond, Indiana alongside two other season seven tournament finals in the lightweight and heavyweight divisions.
It was a rough night for Bellator, which also lost expected 2013 welterweight tournament participant War Machine, who had been voted by the fans to fight Paul Daley in the first fight ever on Spike TV.
Did the promotion do the best they could given the circumstances, Maniacs? Or was this just a big folly all-around?