Bellator light heavyweight champion Attila Vegh spoke to a Polish MMA website last week that he was not injured and was being forced to sit on the sidelines while Emanuel Newton and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal have their rematch.
According to a translated report, Vegh claimed the decision to have Newton and Lawal fight for the interim title was a business decision made by Bellator.
Following his comments, Bellator issued a statement claiming the interview was not translated correctly and released a medical report from Vegh’s doctor.
Since releasing the statement, Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney has not made any public comments but he spoke to TheMMAReport.com about the situation on Thursday afternoon. He gave a timeline on this situation including when they had to make a decision on whether an interim title fight would take place.
“We were in constant communication with our champion,” Rebney said. “He submitted a medical report to us late in the spring and the injuries that were apart of that medical report stuck with him. He kept going back and fourth with him in July. We kept going back and fourth with him in August trying to get a yes from him that he could move forward and we could schedule a bout.”
“He could not give us a yes because of the injuries so finally in mid-August, we went back to him around August 12th or 15th and we said that we got to make a decision here. We have to start scheduling here and you have been out for a long time. He said ‘look I get it, it’s a business. If you have to do an interim fight, do it and I’ll just pick up the winner of that interim fight for the title coming up in the first quarter of 2014.’ So we did that him and we had a lot of conversations with him about it. Actually we went as far as entering into an addendum agreement with him about it so we were really clear into what is going on and how long the injuries have taken.”
One of the questions about this situation is whether Vegh would have been ready to take a fight on the inaugural Bellator pay-per-view on November 2nd. Rebney did confirmed that Vegh said he would be ready to fight in November but that was after they booked the interim title fight between Newton and Lawal.
“He came to us and said ‘hey I am ready to go back into the gym 100 percent’ but that was after we had already scheduled everything, which he understood.”