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Bellator Notebook: Summer Series Returns, Uncertain Future Of Middleweight Division

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Travis Wiuff (left) gets his opportunity for a title shot against Christian M'Pumbu (right) when he enters this summer's Bellator 205-pound tournament. (Photo: Bellator.com)
Travis Wiuff (left) gets his opportunity for a title shot against Christian M'Pumbu (right) when he enters this summer's Bellator 205-pound tournament. (Photo: Bellator.com)

Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Christian M'Pumbu will finally get an opponent to defend his title against as the promotion announced Monday they will once again run a Summer Series, this time featuring a 205-pound tourney that kicks off on June 22 in Chester, West Virginia.

In the quarterfinals, Travis Wiuff (66-14-0-1) is booked but doesn't have an opponent, while Marcus Vanttinen (21-3) vs. Philipe Lins (5-0), Roger Hollett (13-3) vs. Attila Vegh (24-4-2) and Richard Hale (18-4-1) vs. Beau Tribolet (7-1) round out the main card. Wiuff took on M'Pumbu last October in a three round "superfight" and became the first opponent to beat a reigning champion with his unanimous decision win.

Shlemenko Shelved, Interesting Predicament For Middleweight Division

Sherdog first reported the news over the weekend that No. 1 middleweight contender Alexander Shlemenko was in a car accident last week, breaking his collarbone and dislocating his thumb in the process. He was in the passenger seat and the car was hit by a drunk driver. He is expected to be cleared for rehab after a month, putting his timetable at training for a return at several months away.

For why this could put Bellator's middleweight division on ice for a while, keep reading after the jump.

Where this puts Bellator's 185-pound division is an interesting question. There are rumors that current champ Hector Lombard has been negotiating with the UFC as the promotion doesn't have a champion's clause. Shlemenko won the most recent tournament and was expecting to fight Lombard, but if the champion doesn't want to wait around, that rematch might never happen.

An option if Lombard leaves: hold another 185-pound tournament during this summer and have Shlemenko fight the winner for the title.

When Fighting Gets You Arrested

Raphael Davis was just looking to increase his stature in Bellator when competed on last October's Bellator 53 undercard, knocking out Myron Dennis in the second round. When he knocked out Berin Balijagic in the second round of a regional show this past March, he wanted to earn a couple bucks and keep his dream alive at 12-2.

Those fights weren't the issue, but the seven during a stretch from December 2008 to May 2011 that were. Davis wasn't supposed to be fighting as he was making worker's compensation claims for injuries suffered during his full-time job as a Los Angeles firefighter. He was arrested and charged with four felony counts of fraud last week and faces up to five years in jail.