The IFL has announced that both Brad Blackburn and Reese Andy are no longer able to compete in the upcoming IFL Grand Prix due to injury.
The extent of the injuries and type were undisclosed.
Blackburn will be replaced by UFC veteran Gideon Ray, who will take on Delson Heleno. Heavyweight Shane Ott will take Andy’s spot and will be matched up against top seeded Antoine Jaoude in the first round.
Sam Caplan is reporting that both Ben Rothwell and Mike Whitehead have been pulled from next month’s IFL Grand Prix because of contract problems:
The IFL made a decision to pull both Rothwell and Whitehead from their respective brackets after the promotion was unable to secure signed commitments from each fighter for the 2007 season. Rather than risk having one or both of the fighters winning a title only possibly to see them never defend it within the IFL, a decision was made to change directions.
The IFL’s policy in this regard is similar to the UFC’s of not allowing fighters with only one fight remaining on their contract to challenge for a title. The IFL felt it had secured verbal commitments in regard to 2008 from Rothwell and Whitehead’s camp. Both are managed by Monte Cox.
However, when the IFL tried to finalize the 2008 contracts for Rothwell and Whitehead they felt as though their management was being unresponsive. After a deadline passed, the team-oriented fight promotion was left with the feeling that the two might be considering offers from outside the organization.
Huge blow to the Grand Prix right there, especially since Rothwell is the company’s star.
So what happens now?
Caplan says that Bryan Vetell will serve as Rothwell’s replacement take on Antoine Jaoude. Roy Nelson will face Reese Andy in the other. As for the light heavyweights, Andre Gusmao has been forced to pull out with a foot injury so Vladimir Matyushenko will be fighting Alex Schoenauer for the title instead of having a tournament take place.
Caplan also mentioned that Jay Hieron was almost pulled from the event but agreed to a contract extension at the last minute. I find this odd because I spoke with Hieron last week and he didn’t mention anything concerning that.
IFL heavyweight Reese Andy will still be competing at the IFL Grand Prix against Antoine Jaoude on November 3rd after all.
Yesterday MMA Weekly reported that Andy was forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against Rothwell after aggravating lingering leg and hand injuries during a recent training session and would be replaced by Bryan Vetell.
That turned out to be untrue according to IFL President Kurt Otto.
Heavyweight alternate Bryan Vetell will get his chance to compete at the IFL Grand Prix after all as he will replace an injured Reese Andy in the event on November 3rd.
Vetell will be given the fourth seed and will be matched up against Ben Rothwell in the opening round of the tournament.
Andy was forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against Rothwell after aggravating lingering leg and hand injuries during a recent training session.