Josh Barnett was just as shocked as fight fans when he was removed from his main event clash with Ronny Markes last night (Fri., Dec. 20, 2019) at Bellator 235 from Honolulu, Hawaii, due to severe illness.
Barnett, who was expected to make his Bellator MMA debut, arrived to the arena in such bad shape that the Hawaiian State Boxing Commission deemed the former UFC heavyweight champion medically unfit to compete. His main event bout was scrapped just moments before it was supposed to go down and “Warmaster” was left to retreat to his hotel room and think about what went wrong.
Bellator MMA released the above video footage of Barnett discussing his removal from the main event.
“Today was a travesty,” began Barnett. “You won’t find anybody more disappointed than me. Being unable to get out there and fight. To be a part of that main event for the troops tonight and to provide some much-needed entertainment. To showcase Bellator and its more than capable, its world-class talent. And to give Ronny Markes an opportunity to be there in the main event.
“I’ve done everything that I could today to try to be of sound mind and body to get in the ring. I woke up in the middle of the night with chills and fevers and aches, pains. Kidneys feel like someone’s been hitting them for 12 rounds. And I went, got two litters of fluids put in me and I’ve taken every allowable medication to try and get me up to snuff to be able to get to the cage. And I’ve never been known for one to back out of fights or to not show up. So not only is this embarrassing for me but it’s like some sort of a weird nightmare. And I really regret being unable to be in the cage tonight.”
Barnett, 42, signed on with the promotion back in April and had a plan to fight legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko sometime next year. That will now have to wait as Barnett’s promotional debut has been pushed back due to this unforeseen, last-second illness.
“Warmaster” has returned from worse in his professional career but this isn’t the start he wanted to get off to after returning to professional MMA from a three-year hiatus.
For complete Bellator 235 results and coverage click here.