After being in control for three rounds, Brandon Halsey secured the back of Kendall Grove, who turned to his side. As Halsey unleashed several right hands on his opponent, the referee stopped the fight.
Halsey (9-0 MMA, 7-0 Bellator) is no longer middleweight champion despite defeating Grove in the main event of Bellator 137. He was stripped of the title after failing to make the 185-pound weight cut resulting in Bellator making his fight with Grove at catchweight (188 pounds). They also added the stipulation that if Grove won the fight he’d be the champion. Since Halsey won, the title will remain vacant.
When a fighter fails to make weight, he or she will forfeit a portion of their purse to their opponent. An MMA world champion getting stripped of his title might be something new in mixed martial arts, but it’s a long time practice in boxing. Some critics may see this as a harsh move on Bellator’s part but I think it was the appropriate move on the promotion’s part. It would have been nice for Chael Sonnen to have his stipulation when he fought – and defeated – WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho, who failed to make weight in their fight, in 2008.
It will be interesting to see how Bellator resolves the middleweight title situation. Halsey’s win may not have gotten him his title back but it at least he can keep his name in the hate for a future championship bout, especially since no one beat him for the title in the first place.
If Halsey is going fight for the title, who will Bellator put up against him? Will it be Rafael Carvalho, who defeated Joe Schilling back in April? Will Bellator bring in another former UFC fighter for Halsey to bulldoze?
Could they return to the tournament format? As a fan of tournaments, I wouldn’t mind seeing that last scenario though it would be more of an uphill battle for Halsey. It would also mean Bellator’s 185 belt would be vacated for a longer period of time.
Prior to Halsey’s victory over Grove, Eduardo Dantas defeated Mike Richman to become the No. 1 contender for the Bellator bantamweight title. Journeyman Fernando Gonsalez submitted rising star Curtis Millender. In his bantamweight debut, undefeated prospect Darrion Caldwell upset Bellator Summer Series tournament winner Rafael Silva.