Eric Prindle just wants to fight, though lately that seems easier said than done.
In just five months, Prindle has seen two match-ups with Thiago Santos self-destruct in utterly bizarre fashion, the first ending in a 'no-contest' after a misplaced soccer kick found its way into his groin at Bellator's Season 5 heavyweight finale, and the second being cancelled before it could even take place last week.
Various reports have attributed both Prindle and Santos as the culprit, the former from flu-like symptoms and the latter from a challenging weight cut. Either side is partly true, says Prindle, though the decision was ultimately not his to make.
"What happened was, I was sick Tuesday and I was feeling a little bit better Wednesday," Prindle revealed to MMAFighting.com. "Santos cut a lot of weight, and I guess he was still a little heavy, so they decided, since I was sick and Santos cut a lot of weight -- I don't know if he wouldn't have made it or if he would have -- but it being a (big) fight, they just gave us another week."
The extra seven days to prepare would be fine elsewhere. But mixed martial arts, more so than only other sport, is about peaking at the right time. Training camps are specifically engineered to ensure a fighter enters the cage at the crescendo of his abilities, and to guide an innately unhealthy experience like weight-cutting as smoothly as possible.
In that condensed timeline, a week can become a lifetime.
"At the time I wasn't happy about it," Prindle thickly admitted. "You come to fight. That's what you prepare for. So now I'm having to cut weight for basically two weeks, and my body is trying to shoot back up and it's not the (most fun) thing."
While he was rightly sick on Tuesday, Prindle believes he would have been ready for action on fight night. "Friday I ran for an hour straight and did weight training stuff," he explained. "I was fine."
In the end, the whole commotion provided another odd moment in a heavyweight match-up that already has more twists and turns than anyone could have anticipated.
Though, if you gave him the choice, Prindle would surely accept last week's setback over the wince-inducing groin shot that sent him to the hospital and left him on the shelf for three months. After such a personal injury, it's a credit to the 35-year-old's character that he holds no ill will towards Santos.
"I think he was just in fight mode," Prindle explained. "He comes from a Vale Tudo background, so it's kind of like anything goes. He had his eyes on the prize and he was going for it. I have respect for that."
Now that all the craziness has hopefully past, Prindle is more than ready to put everything behind him. After all, there's a fight to be had, and the winner not only nets a cool $100,000, but also a guaranteed stab at Bellator's undefeated heavyweight champion, Cole Konrad. With a prize that large looming over the horizon, all the troubles, interviews and doctor's visits shrink in comparison.
"I'm just going out there to have the best fight I can, and try to win as much as possible," Prindle concluded, a wide grin flashing across his face.
"The fallout from whatever happens, it's going to happen no matter what. So I'm just along for the ride. And hopefully it's going to be a good fun ride."
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