The much-anticipated trilogy title fight between current Bellator MMA lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and former division kingpin, Michael Chandler -- which was supposed to go down this weekend (May 17, 2014) in Southaven, Mississippi -- experienced a major setback after Alvarez suffered a concussion and got bounced from the championship bout.
During a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Alvarez recounted the blows that lead to the untimely concussion, revealing that it was not one, but two, significant strikes to the head just minutes apart that lead to his injury.
His words (via MMA Fighting):
"It was during one of [coach] Kenny Monday's wrestling practices. Me and Abel Trujillo were wrestling. I shot in, he defended like with a hip check, sort of hit me, and I just remember feeling like it was a significant blow. Well, we just kept wrestling and kept going, and there was a couple of exchanges later, I had a separate partner. I had a single-leg, and they pulled out of the single-leg and their heel hit me underneath my chin, and that was only about two or three minutes later after I shot on Abel. So, it was a series of significant hits that I took."
Initially, Alvarez wasn't aware of the severity of his injuries. It was only after a day went by that he realized what he was feeling was far from the normal wear and tear of a Kenny Monday practice.
"Kenny Monday's wrestling practice is pretty intense. You normally feel exhausted and dizzy after regardless, so I didn't know whether just to take it that I was feeling the symptoms because I took a hard shot or I was just tired and exhausted from practice. So, I went home, I rested, and when I came in the next day my head was feeling pressure when I got like really light impact. And then the following day, Friday, it got even worse. So I needed to call [my manager] Glenn [Robinson] and let him know what was going on. That's sort of what happened."
As far as trying to explain the level of pain and discomfort he feels, Alvarez said it's as if his brain is bruised.
"When I get into the training room, any kind of impact training, even when I shadow box -- if I throw my own punches, just the stopping and the jolting motion -- it really puts pressure on my brain. Really, if I can describe it, it feels like my brain was like sort of bruised. It feels like a squeezing of my brain. My doctor says it was vestibular system that was sort of out of whack, which is the system that controls my head and my eye movement. So whenever I would try to do this motion, or if something happened really fast to my left or right side and I'd try to look, I would get a super, really like excruciating pain in my brain. So, I was probably foolish for thinking I could fight. But I was already too invested in my training camp to just say no. It was stupid to me to think about when I look back in retrospect, but I was very invested in the fight and I felt like I was going to be able to get past it."
For Bellator, it's the second time a co-headliner was forced to bow out due to injury for their inaugural pay-per-view (PPV) event.
Last year at Bellator 106, Tito Ortiz was forced out of his fight against Quinton Jackson with a neck injury. As a result, Bellator moved the event to air on Spike TV, cancelling all PPV plans.
This time, the Viacom-owned company has opted to go forward in trying its luck by keeping the event as is, and Chandler will now face Will Brooks for an interim lightweight title in the co-main event, with Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal promoted to the main event.
As far as Eddie is concerned, he hopes he can get back into action, sooner rather than later, and believes he will have the opportunity to face Chandler somewhere down the road. He won't, however, be rushing his way back to the cage.