Heavyweight veteran Josh Barnett was not cleared by the Hawaii State Boxing Commission to compete at Bellator 235, ruling him out of a main event opposite Ronny Markes.
Bumped to the main event was a bantamweight matchup between UFC vet Erik Perez and Toby Misech, Bellator’s broadcast team announced after breaking the bad news that Barnett was suffering from illness that Bellator President Scott Coker also called “severe.”
Bellator 235’s co-main was scheduled to go live when Barnett’s scratch, first reported by MMA Junkie, was announced. Friday’s event served as a salute to the troops promoted by the USO at Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii. The event aired on Paramount and streamed on DAZN.
This just in. pic.twitter.com/4rT3UJovQB— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) December 21, 2019
Barnett signed with Bellator in April after more than three years on the sidelines. He asked for and received his release from the UFC after winning in arbitration against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after the agency flagged him for a banned performance-enhancer that was later traced to a tainted supplement.
Markes made his way to Bellator after a rocky stint in the PFL, where struggled to make weight and subsequently decided to move to heavyweight.
Barnett later gave a statement about his removal from the card.
"It's like some sort of a weird nightmare."@JoshLBarnett shares his regrets as he is unable to fight tonight at The #BellatorUSO Show. pic.twitter.com/BFaWcf8Ryj— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) December 21, 2019