by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Vitor Belfort, who was scheduled to face Matt Lindland in a 185lb showdown at Affliction: Day of Reckoning has been forced off the card due to a hand injury as confirmed to MMAWeekly Radio by Affliction Vice President, Tom Atencio, on Thursday night.
“Vitor is out, I spoke with him I think yesterday and he told me,” said Atencio. “Actually, it was on Tuesday we had a conversation for about an hour or so, and yeah, I guess he broke his hand in two places is what he told me and he had been having 2, 3 and 4 opinions on it. He finally got the opinion that he wanted I guess and they told him to step out for a while.”
Belfort was successful in his first bout for Affliction, knocking out Terry Martin in his debut fight in the middleweight division.
Now, Atencio and the Affliction team will make an effort to find Lindland a new opponent as quickly as possible.
Speculation has run rampant that current Elite XC welterweight champion, Jake Shields, may be the fighter Affliction is courting to face Lindland on the Oct 11 show, but Atencio had no comment.
“I don’t confirm anything until I have all the papers signed,” he simply said.
MMAWeekly.com first broke the news on Thursday that Shields was still negotiating on his next fight and that a prominent offer was pending for him to fight at 185lbs in a different organization.
“Right now I have a really good offer on the table to fight a top 185-pounder,” Shields told MMAWeekly.com on Thursday. “I’m just waiting, hoping Elite (XC) will give me that opportunity to go out there and represent Elite and test myself.”
According to Atencio, the promotion has great admiration for Shields, but for now he is simply a fighter under contract to a different organization.
“Jake’s a great fighter, but nonetheless it doesn’t matter because we don’t have him,” Atencio commented. “That’s a fighter that Pro Elite has.”
With Lindland versus Belfort now off the table, Atencio did dispel the rumors that the fight between the two middleweights would have been for a middleweight championship.
“At this point I don’t think so. It just didn’t make too much sense,” Atencio said about the title implications with the fight. “We may go down that road again in the near future when we do have them fight. I know that’s a fight both of them want. Well, I know Vitor wants it and Matt (Lindland) will fight anyone.”
Atencio commented in the interview with MMAWeekly Radio that he would like to have the next Affliction fight card finalized by the end of next week, while also confirming that former International Fight League fighters, Chris Horodecki and Jay Hieron, are likely to be on the card as well.