Yesterday, we reported on former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate and her public criticism of Bellator. Tate has been very vocal in her disapproval of Bellator's decision to put their 115 pound women's champion Zoila Gurgel in a prelim fight this Friday at Bellator 78.
Now, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has addressed those complaints. Here is what Rebney had to say to MMA Fighting:
Zoila's been plagued by injury after injury over the last 19 months, having not fought since March, 2011. We felt that the best road back for her did not include rushing her into a major fight against one of the top-ranked women in the world. This is not a world title fight as it's made significantly north of the 115 weight limit where she holds our title. Depending on how Zoila feels and performs on Friday, we can then determine the next appropriate step back.
Gurgel's Bellator 78 fight with Casey Noland will be fought at 125 pounds.
Non-title fights are nothing new to Bellator, as their tournament format has led to champions taking non-title fights on multiple occassions. However, this will be the first time a non-title fight is not on the televised main card. Though as Rebney notes, it's also a unique situation due to Gurgel's time off.
For her part, Gurgel has remained mainly silent on the issue, simply stating on twitter: "Don't need Main Event status to shine on Friday!"
Gurgel has her chance to back up those words and show that she deserves a main card spot at Bellator 78 this Friday.