Although the Bellator 277 light heavyweight Grand Prix title fight ended in a no-contest, Corey Anderson still feels like the true champion of the division
There’s a cliché that timing is everything, and a quick decision by Corey Anderson helped show true sportsmanship in the Bellator cage — even though it cost him a championship and $1 million in the process.
In the third round of his challenge against light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov – the final match of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix – Anderson seemed to have quite the upper hand and was closing in on the goal.
But when the two accidentally bumped heads, Anderson said he told the referee – who told him to continue his performance – about the accidental headbutt.
That brutal honesty was brutal in a whole different sense. Anderson did the right thing in terms of the honor code, but the headbutt ultimately disallowed Nemkov to continue, forcing the fight to end in a no contest. This also meant that Nemkov retained the championship, although no one won the million-dollar prize.
“The good sport in me – I saved it myself,” Anderson said in his post-fight press conference. “I felt my head hit. And the referee said, ‘Go on! Go on!’ And I said, ‘I headbutted him.’ And that’s why they stopped doing it. If I hadn’t said anything in three seconds, it would have been over and I would have been world champion.”
Despite a self-reported no-contest finish, Corey Anderson feels the true Bellator light heavyweight champion after Bellator 277
After a fairly even opening round in which both men fired a notable shot but couldn’t move much in the grappling department, Anderson took control in round two, scoring an early takedown and later blasting Nemkov with some ground and pound.
Anderson pressured Nemkov in the third round and landed some hard shots, though Nemkov scared him with a choke attempt. However, Anderson managed to escape and regain a dominant position by getting past Nemkov’s guard and being aggressive on the offensive front.
While Anderson looked to give more ground-and-pound with about 10 seconds left in the round, the two appeared to butt hands. Nemkov was in clearly visible pain and collapsed even more. Anderson was seen informing the referee of the accidental foul.
Had the headbutt not been called and the round completed and Nemkov unable to continue, the fight would have gone to the judges for a technical decision. The fight was 19-19 on all three judges’ scorecards after two rounds, according to Bellator PRmeaning that Anderson would have won the championship if at least two judges had scored a completed third round in his favor.
However, with Anderson admitting the unintentional infraction before the round was completed, not enough time had passed for a technical decision. As such, the fight is a no contest and Nemkov retained the gold.
“It’s very upsetting, especially because I broke it,” Anderson said. “You can’t say I didn’t win the fight when the clash happened. It is what it is. I went out and did exactly what I was supposed to do. He can’t handle my wrestling, my ground and pound. I was pacing and I knew round four would be over.
Despite the disappointing ending, the next logical step would be to fight back. And according to Bellator CEO Scott Coker, this is set to happen in the next 3-4 months after both participants have healed and completed another training camp.
However, Anderson has concerns about the timeline of Coker’s plan if what he heard in the medical tent proves true.
“We’re next to each other in the medical tent,” Anderson said. “The one incision he has to make for that is plastic surgery. The other cut, I guess I smashed his eye socket, so he’ll be out for a while. I’m pretty sure he’ll try to push the fight back for as long as possible, maybe even to 2023, which I hope not. I want to get it over with as soon as possible so I can move on, get that money and go back to living my life with my family and not a year in training camp like I used to.
And Anderson isn’t looking for a fight other than a chance to hit him back with Nemkov. As a matter of fact,
“Not unless they turn around and say, ‘Okay, you’re the champion. Here’s the belt, here’s the million dollars, let’s move on,'” Anderson said. “I know I’m the champion. You guys can’t stay any other way. I don’t care what the casuals say, I don’t care what the media says. We saw the accidental headbutt, but you saw the 15 minutes.
“First lap, yes, it was a lot closer. But second and third? You can’t tell me you’d get that for him. I am the champion.”
Bellator 277: AJ McKee vs. Patricio Pitbull 2 took place live from the SAP Center in San Jose, California on Friday, April 15, 2022. Follow FanSided MMA who was there for all their news and highlights.
https://fansided.com/2022/04/17/bellator-277-corey-anderson-chose-sportsmanship-still-feels-bellator-champion-video/ Corey Anderson chose sportsmanship, feels like a champion