The overwhelming choice as voted on by the fans was a welterweight showdown between knockout artist Paul Daley and embattled former Ultimate Fighter star previously known as Jon Koppenhaver, better known these days as War Machine.
Unfortunately as circumstances sometimes happen, both fighters were forced off the debut card and the bout had to be scrapped.
Paul Daley is currently in a legal hold up following charges stemming from an alleged bar brawl in his home country of England that’s put his visa to travel to the United States on hold until late April when he has a hearing to determine a ruling to allow or deny his request.
Meanwhile, War Machine suffered a knee injury in training that forced him out of action and into rehab while he works to get back after spending the last year in prison.
“It’s one of those unfortunate situations where we had the “Vote for the Fight” and War Machine tears out his knee and can’t move forward, and then (Paul) Daley, the other fighter fans voted to see ends up in legal trouble and can’t get a visa to get into the country,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney explained when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.
With the promotion kicking off their new television deal on Spike TV on Jan 17, Bellator has already been matchmaking for the majority of the first few months of the year without Daley or War Machine on the radar for fights.
If there is a silver lining to this whole situation however it’s that with the right timing, a Paul Daley vs. War Machine fight could still happen this fall in Bellator.
“That would be the best case scenario, that’d be ideal. If Paul, knock on wood everything works well and he doesn’t get convicted god forbid, and have to do any time or anything like that, then Paul would be clean. Then War Machine had a pretty serious injury, but September would conceptually be a time frame we could do that fight,” said Rebney.
“If that rehab can happen with John (War Machine) and Paul doesn’t have any kind of delay getting a visa, that would be awesome.”
Daley will next compete at Cage Contenders in Ireland on Feb 23 while he awaits the hearing for his visa in April. War Machine is still rehabbing his injured knee, but if timing works out when he returns he could find Daley waiting to greet him in the Bellator cage.