Following reports that Tito Ortiz suffered a neck injury that forced him out of the upcoming Bellator pay-per-view fight with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the event will now be free, according to Bellator and Spike officials.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said during a conference call on Friday that Bellator 106 will transition to Spike TV for a three-hour block. The lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez will now be the main event.
“We’re incredibly excited about that,” Rebney said of moving Bellator 106 to free television. “It’s awesome for us, it’ll be awesome for fans, it’ll reach millions of consumers. While we’re disappointed that Tito’s injured, we’re thrilled that we’re going to be able to present the rest of that card to everybody on free TV, on Spike.”
Ortiz suffered a fractured neck, according to Rebney. The fighter informed the promoter of the injury roughly 24 hours prior to the announced cancellation. The injury, Rebney said, is unrelated to Ortiz’s previous neck problems that have plagued the latter stages of his career.
Rebney added that Ortiz visited his physician two days ago. The unnamed doctor informed Ortiz that participating in the fight would have “dire consequences,” given the nature of the injury, but Ortiz wanted to move forward with the fight, said Rebney. Recovery from the injury could take anywhere from four to eight months.
As a result of Ortiz bowing out of the card, Jackson is left without an opponent and will step aside until Bellator can match him with someone on a later card. The hope, Rebney said, is to have Jackson fight within the next month, preferably before the Thanksgiving holiday.
“I am more hopeful than any MMA fan that Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson will be fighting within the next month,” the CEO said.
The initial backup plan, Rebney added, was to have current light heavyweight champion Attila Vegh step up in the case that anyone was injured, and only if the fit was right. Rebney explained, however, that he didn’t want to force Vegh, who was reportedly injured some time ago, into a fight that didn’t make sense at this time.
Spike TV executive Kevin Kay added that anyone who purchased the Nov. 2 PPV would get a full refund.
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