Frodo Khasbulaev won the season eight featherweight tournament last year after defeating Mike Richman in the final by unanimous decision at Bellator 95.
By winning the tournament, he secured a title shot against the Bellator featherweight champion and was initially targeted to get that opportunity in early 2014.
However, Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney stated in November that Khasbulaev was having visa issues and the organization was considering rebooking the trilogy bout between now featherweight champion Daniel Straus and former champion Pat Curran.
Rebney ended up scheduling the title between Straus and Curran for the main event of Bellator 112 on March 14th and he told TheMMAReport.com on Tuesday that Khasbulaev is still dealing with the same visa issues that do not allow him to travel to the United States or Canada.
“Unfortunately, he still has the same visa issues,” Rebney said. “Can’t get into the United States, can’t get into Canada which presents some problems for us given the fact that we do a vast majority of our shows in United States and Canada. Also, when a guy is going to fight for the world title, you got to be able to get into the United States.
“If he were to win the world title, you would literally have to pack up the entire show in ten trucks and 100 plus production personnel to bring them overseas to just get him a fight. Right now we got to get those visa issues handled before we can do anything with Frodo. There is nothing we can do with him until those visa issues get settled.”
This is not the first time that Bellator has had to deal with a fighter having visa issues. Over the past year, Bellator has ended up releasing welterweights Paul Daley and Ryan Ford due to their visa issues as both fighters were unable to travel to the United States to take a fight.
It’s unknown why Khasbulaev is unable to get a visa to travel to the United States or Canada and time will tell whether Bellator’s legal team will be able to obtain a visa for him.