Bellator 172 was supposed to be headlined by a heavyweight division clash between the legendary Fedor Emelianenko and UFC veteran Matt Mitrione.
However, hours before the show went to air, Mitrione pulled out of the fight due to the effects of kidney stones.
Chael Sonnen, who was performing commentary duty that night, says he would fought the legendary heavyweight on a few hours notice.
“I was the only guy that offered (to step in), and I was trying to get myself involved there,” Sonnen said to MMA Junkie. “Bellator wanted Oli Thompson. He was on the card, he had already weighed in, and he was going to fight Cheick Kongo. So they wanted to move him from the Cheick Kongo fight to the Fedor fight. We were the only names that were taken to Fedor. The first rule in show business is that the show must go on. I didn’t really think of it as too much of a courageous gesture on my part or anything like that. I’m a fighter; he’s a fighter. I’m there; he’s there. It seemed like pretty simple math to me.”
In the show's new main event, Patricky Freire would knockout John Thomson in the second round.
Canceled main event or not, Sonnen says the Bellator 172 was still a good card to watch.
“I thought Coker really went to the next best thing,” Sonnen said. “I think everybody in that house left happy and with a smile on their face. They deserve a lot of credit for what they did and what they faced less than 24 hours from bell time.”
Sonnen made his Bellator MMA debut at Bellator 170, but was submitted by the retiring Tito Ortiz.