Yesterday afternoon (August 31, 2013), it was reported by MMARocks.pl that Bellator Light Heavyweight champion, Atilla Vegh, wasn't actually injured, as previously claimed by the fight promotion. That injury served as the reasoning for setting up the rematch between "King" Mo Lawall and Emmanuel Newton later this year at Bellator's pay-per-view (PPV) debut.
MMA Fighting received a statement this morning (September 1, 2013) from Bellator addressing Vegh's comments. Bellator dismissed Vegh's comments, saying that there was a mistranslation. They even went as far as releasing a medical report. You can see the statement below:
Numerous websites yesterday posted a story regarding Attila Vegh and statements he allegedly made to a reporter while in Poland. The interview was done in Slovakian, through a reporter speaking Polish, and a number of US websites published the story with inaccurate and misleading information.
Please see the attached medical report to this email, a doctor's report provided to Bellator by Attila's doctor detailing his injury and instructing him to do nothing for 2 months.
Additionally, Attila has confirmed that his statements were not translated correctly and were not accurate. Attila was fully aware that Bellator made numerous attempts to schedule his world title defense vs. Emmanuel Newton, and that his injury prevented that bout from occurring and that Bellator was going to schedule an interim world title fight because of the delays.
Attila will be facing the winner of the Newton vs. Mo Interim World Title fight in early 2014.
There are several issues with this statement that further need to be discussed by Bellator.
1. The timeline doesn't make sense. The medical examination occurred on April 15, with the doctor recommending 6-8 weeks rest in order for it to heal up. This means that Vegh would be healthy by mid-June, making him available to fight Emmanuel Newton this summer.
2. Why would the doctor mention a tournament? The doctor states that Vegh can't fight in a tournament, yet as Bellator champion, he wouldn't actually have to compete in a tournament. Champions fight the winners of the tournaments. They don't fight in them.
3. What about that shoulder injury though? The reason Bellator made this interim title fight between King Mo and Emmanuel Newton is because Vegh suffered a serious shoulder injury. The medical report says that he suffered a hematoma to his pectoral muscle after getting kicked in the chest. That's just swelling.
4. Where did Vegh confirm he was misquoted? I've checked everywhere on the internet and haven't seen a single quote from Vegh saying that he was misquoted or mistranslated. Unless the media receives quotes from Vegh, it's just Bellator covering themselves without any way to confirm independently.
5. How can you release a confidential medical report? Seriously, I'm totally stumped. It's illegal in the United States to release medical information unless the patient provides consent. It just seems very odd that Bellator went ahead with this.
I understand that Bellator hoped that this statement would put some people at ease but instead it's really just left me with more questions and concerns. If they want to be taken seriously as an alternative option from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), they need to handle press inquiries better.