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After inconclusive brain scan, Charmaine Tweet returns to Invicta with clean bill of health

Esther Lin, Invicta FC

Charmaine Tweet flew all the way to Houston from Saskatchewan. Her opponent, Faith Van Duin, came from halfway around the world: New Zealand.

The two women were supposed to face off at Invicta FC 10 with the winner getting a leg up in the featherweight division. But two days before the Dec. 5 event, the fight was canceled.

The official line was the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) wouldn't let Tweet compete due to "medical concerns." The details were concerning. Tweet had taken an EEG (an examination of brain waves) as part of the conditions of getting licensed to fight in the state. The test came back inconclusive and the TDLR wouldn't clear her to enter the cage.

Tweet was disappointed and embarrassed. Van Duin had spent extra money to fly in relatives and corner people for nothing. And the MMA and Muay Thai veteran knew right away nothing was wrong. She was upset the TDLR wouldn't even let her get further testing done to prove it. The commission said it didn't allow "doctor shopping."

"If you told me I had breast cancer, and you wanted to do a mastectomy on me, I would need a second opinion," Tweet told "That was all I wanted. They refused to let me do that."

Invicta president Shannon Knapp, who was concerned about Tweet's health, told her to get tests done as soon as she got back to Canada. That's exactly what she did and everything came back normal.

Now, Tweet will return to the cage to challenge Cris "Cyborg" Justino for her Invicta women's featherweight title in the main event of Invicta FC 11 on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles. Perhaps the messy situation in Houston was a blessing in disguise -- this is a much higher-profile fight on a card being held in tandem with UFC 184 the next night in LA.

Tweet is currently in good standing with the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) after sending over test results signed off on by a neurologist in Saskatchewan. CSAC executive director Andy Foster told that he spoke to officials in Texas and none of their tests showed conclusively that anything was wrong with Tweet's brain. Foster was confident Tweet would be licensed when she arrives in Los Angeles on fight week.

Knapp said she wouldn't even be on the card otherwise.

"We wouldn't have put her back in without getting that clearance," Knapp said. "A person's health is first and foremost important. She's a mom. People rely on her for things. This is not more important. Making sure she was OK was important."

Tweet (6-4) is happy the ordeal is just about over and all she has to do now is fight. She referred to the situation in Texas as "a gong show" and never once thought there was anything wrong with her.

"That wasn't even something that I considered," Tweet said. "People were asking me if I was scared and I was like, 'No, I'm not scared.' There's nothing wrong with me. Brain damage, I don't think about it. I don't think you can be a fighter and think about it and be able to step into that cage."

Tweet, 37, will now attempt to play spoiler against Justino, who is currently in negotiations with the UFC about a potential megafight between her and UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Knapp is just happy everything is normal, the way Tweet knew it was all along.

"I told her when she got back to go and get tested, just for peace of mind for all of us," Knapp said. "It's safety first and we definitely care. If there is a problem, we certainly don't want her fighting. I felt confident everything was OK."

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