by Lee Whitehead – MMAWeekly.com
Poor Jimmy Wallhead, the guy just can’t seem to catch a break…
For the last few days the U.K. has been thrown into chaos with the Icelandic volcano ash cloud having caused all manner of problems for travelers, businesses and other users of air transport alike.
Wallhead was all set to make his Bellator debut against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stylist Jacob McClintock, but the cancellation of all flights in and out of the U.K. forced the hand of the promotion, calling on Ryan Thomas to replace the stranded Brit.
Thomas had already dropped out of the tournament by way of a technical submission a little over a week ago in less than definite circumstances.
“I think it makes sense to replace me with Ryan. The referee did mess up his fight and he was clearly fine afterwards. Bellator came good on their word to him as an alternate. They stuck to it and he is in – fair play to him,” offered Wallhead, putting his own bitter disappointments to the side in favor of looking at the big picture.
For Wallhead the blow will be huge, but he should take consolation that it is force majeure and everyone is unable to do anything about it, a freak act of nature. Months of training, visas and medicals all in place, weight cut in progress – all to sit on the sidelines.
“My visa was in place along with my medicals. I woke up yesterday at (185 pounds), so I was on course with my weight as well, especially given that I tend to put on a kilo or so in water retention flying. Still, I would have been ready for the scales in any case.”
Wallhead’s fate effectively sealed, he did what any man in his position would do: drown his sorrows in fish and chips, followed by a cheesecake for lunch – but that’s all the consolation he is going to allow.
“I am hoping that Bellator will find a place for me now, as an alternate against injury, in another fight, maybe down the line. I went training this morning and I am going to stay on it just incase something comes up,” he stated, but is aware that there will be no answers to what the future holds until Friday at the earliest.
“They are busy with the tournament now, but my management will be in contact with them as things progress, we just have to wait and see what happens after that.”
Having spoken to Wallhead in the lead-up to the bout, he was feeling hugely positive about his chances and had one of his best training camps on account of the relief he felt having a new home stateside.
Like many in the U.K., he is stuck, unable to get a reward for the months of blood, sweat and tears in the gym.