by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
For UFC middleweight Alan Belcher, the stage was set. Months of training camp and full-contact sparring sessions were now behind him, and he was tuned in, both physically and mentally prepared to go to battle on Saturday.

But when Belcher got to Vegas this past Tuesday to finish preparations for his upcoming fight with Ricardo Almeida, he knew something wasn’t right with his body.

As MMAWeekly.com reported Wednesday, Belcher is officially out of his fight with Almeida due to a severe case of bronchitis. When we caught up with Belcher – now back home in Mississippi – on Thursday, he wanted to convey his total devastation about having to pull out of a fight so close to the competition.

“I went to the UFC doctor on Wednesday to get a Penicillin or a B-12 shot to help clear me up. When I got there though, the doctor thought I might have something worse going on so he x-rayed my chest. The UFC doctor (Dr. Voy) told me that he couldn’t clear me to fight because he said I wouldn’t even last a round with my lungs how they were.”

For any fighter who has put so much time, energy, sacrifice and emotion into training for a fight, the news of not being cleared to fight is devastating, and unsurprisingly Belcher was crushed.

“I just want fans to know that he made the decision, not me. When he told me I couldn’t fight, I cried…it was bad. I’m a fighter, I want to fight…my weight was perfect and it was my best training camp yet, the doctor just wouldn’t clear me to fight.”

Since arriving back at home, he suspects that the doctor may have made the right – though certainly upsetting – call not letting him compete on Saturday.

“My bronchitis is definitely getting worse. I flew out of Vegas (Wednesday) night and now I’m home and it’s still getting worse…even when I was in Vegas, I got winded just walking through the hotel to my room. So I knew something was really wrong with me.”

Once Alan shakes his bronchitis and his lungs are cleared up again, he wants to get back in the cage as soon as he can. He said, “I told Joe Silva that I want to fight as soon as I get better, so we’ll see what happens.”