Bellator lightweight Benson Henderson announced via social media early this morning that he has been forced to withdraw from his rematch with Michael Chandler. That bout had been scheduled for the co-main event at Bellator Japan on December 29th.
怪我による欠場が決定したベンソン・ヘンダーソン選手からコメント動画が届いています pic.twitter.com/VCRgXEhIZC— RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_PR) December 5, 2019
“I just wanted to take the time to apologize and say that I got an injury and I will not be able to participate in the Dec. 29 festivities in Japan, so I won’t make it out there,” said Henderson (h/t Alexander K. Lee of MMAFighting). “I got hurt, I got an injury and I can’t fight, so I’m sorry. I’m hoping that Bellator sets it up, reschedules it for later on, Chandler and I, and we can be able to settle some things.”
Henderson went on to apologize to Japanese fans, specifically. Henderson expressed that he had been excited to return to Japan; the country where he defeated Frankie Edgar to claim the UFC lightweight title in 2012. Henderson finished his message by promising to “make it up to you guys.”
Missing from the video were any details regarding Henderson’s actual injury or his timetable for a return.
Henderson first fought Chandler at 2016’s Bellator 165 for Chandler’s lightweight title. Chandler took that fight via a split decision. That was Chandler’s first title defense since claiming the vacant belt in a fight with Patricky Freire. Chandler then lost the belt to Brent Primus after suffering a leg injury at Bellator NYC in 2017.
Chandler would beat Primus for the title in 2018. However, he then dropped the belt in his first defense; to Patricio Freire.
Before being matched up with Chandler for a second time, Henderson was enjoying a four-fight winning streak thanks to victories over Roger Huerta, Saad Awad, Adam Piccolotti and Myles Jury.
Replacing Henderson at Bellator Japan is Sidney Outlaw (14-3). Outlaw last fought at Bellator 234, where he defeated Roger Huerta via unanimous decision. He is currently riding a nine-fight winning streak, which includes a successful appearance on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series back in 2017.