Ryan Bader and Cheick Kongo went to war in the Bellator 226 main event earlier this month in San Jose, Calif., but the fight was called off in the opening frame after what appeared to be an accidental eye poke suffered by the Parisian power puncher.
As Bader was exiting the cage, he crossed paths with former rival Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, friend and training partner of Kongo, and tense words from both sides led to an impromptu scuffle that had officials scrambling to intervene.
Longtime UFC legend, Tank Abbott, who trains at the Kongo-Jackson gym, was in attendance and ready to teach Bader a lesson in street justice, but that pesky barricade keeping the aisles clear proved too formidable an obstacle to overcome.
“There was a little skirmish after the fact, and I was trying to make my way into the cage but I couldn’t get over the railing,” Abbott told Submission Radio. “I was going to throw down with Rampage and Cheick, but the barrier seemed to be too significant for me to get over at the time and I was kind of freaking my wife out, so I calmed down, but I was definitely on my way.”
Abbott, now 54, has not competed since his technical knockout loss to Ruben Villareal in April 2013, his only fight since calling it quits back in early 2009. No question he’s got the will to compete, but he also underwent a recent liver transplant and is lucky to be alive.
“I was just gonna show them what a real thumb up looks like,” Abbott continued. “The one you kind of deliver on the street, you know what I mean? But things were in my way I couldn’t get over. So, things happen for a reason once again. So, [Bader] lucked out.”
Bellator MMA President, Scott Coker, doesn’t appear to be in any big hurry to book an immediate rematch, as the 27-5 (1 NC) Bader has both the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles to defend in 2020.