Bellator 172 lost its main event just hours before the preliminary card kicked off inside the SAP Center in San Jose, California. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione was called off due to Mitrione falling ill, reportedly because of kidney stones. Mitrione is currently in the hospital as of Saturday evening.
One of the fighters who was willing to replace Mitrione was none other than Chael Sonnen. Ariel Helwani and Brett Okamoto both tweeted out the details.
Chael Sonnen offered to fight Fedor on just hours notice, I'm told. He was ready to go. Bellator was interested but it didn't come together.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 18, 2017
Sonnen actually called Bellator officials and pushed hard for this upon hearing initial rumblings hours ago.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 18, 2017
There's only one ... https://t.co/eqdLWteVoJ
As first reported by @arielhelwani, Chael Sonnen just confirmed to me via text he offered to fight Fedor on several hours notice tonight.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 19, 2017
I asked Chael who told him no ... Fedor, Bellator or California? "I wasn't told."— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 19, 2017
That certainly been one hell of a twist in this tale. Sonnen is certainly no stranger to trying to save main events. He famously wanted to replace Dan Henderson and fight Jon Jones for Jones’ light heavyweight title at UFC 151, but that obviously never materialized.
Sonnen (29-15-1) made his Bellator debut last month, losing by rear-naked choke to Tito Ortiz in the Bellator 170 main event. In an alternative world where he would’ve snagged a bout with Fedor at the last second, this would’ve been the first heavyweight fight of his career.