The ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Iceland that has been disrupting air travel all across Europe has claimed its first victim in the MMA world. Bellator
announced this afternoon that British fighter "Judo" Jim Wallhead will be unable to travel from England to the U.S. for his welterweight tournament bout with Jacob McClintock
at Bellator 15 this Thursday night due to air travel restrictions.
Replacing Wallhead in the welterweight tournament will be Ryan Thomas
, who suffered defeat in a controversial finish against former Olympic wrestler Ben Askren
at Bellator 14 last week. Thomas (10-4) was caught in a guillotine choke early on in the first round, and the bout was halted by the referee at the 2:40 mark and declared a technical submission win for Askren, despite the fact that Thomas hadn't given any indication that he wanted to quit.
"I was fine, that's why I wasn't moving," Thomas said afterwards. "I didn't feel like the world was closing in on me. I was just fine."
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said he was "very disappointed" that Wallhead wouldn't be able to travel to the U.S. to participate in his scheduled bout, but added that because of the controversial nature of the stoppage in Thomas' bout, he had "promised Ryan that he would be our first alternate for the tournament and, based on a natural disaster, his opportunity came much sooner than anyone would have guessed."
Thomas now steps in as an alternate to take on McClintock (6-0) in the welterweight tournament quarterfinal bout in Uncasville, Connecticut this Thursday night.