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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
27-year-old Brian Foster had a promising career beginning in the UFC in 2009 and 2010. He had won three of five fights, having suffered losses to tough competitors in Rick Story and Chris Lytle, while scoring stoppage wins over Brock Larson, Forrest Petz, and Matt Brown.
After consecutive wins, he was set to take on Sean Pierson at UFC 129 last April, but then doctors discovered that he had suffered a brain hemorrhage in the lead up to that fight and he was taken out of the fight. He underwent brain surgery, and found himself outside of the organization.
He returned to action last October, and fought twice before getting picked up by Bellator Fighting Championships. He was set to make his debut in the Bellator welterweight tournament next week, but now he's been removed from the field after being deemed ineligible by the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation in Connecticut.
Bellator revealed the setback on Thursday, and Foster will be replaced by 16-2-1 Bellator newcomer Jordan Smith in the eight-man field.
The nature of Foster's issues was not revealed by the MTDAR, but Foster tweeted Thursday afternoon that it was the same type of thing he's dealt with before, and he claimed that "They just didn't get my release stuff in time or something."
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said he believes Foster will only be delayed "a bit," but he expressed excitement at bringing in a good prospect in Smith.
"Brian's a hugely talented fighter who we were hoping to see next Friday, but his Bellator premiere will need to be delayed just a bit," Rebney said. "But to pick up a rising star in Jordan Smith and place him into the fire of our $100,000 Welterweight Tournament is what makes great moments. The Mohegan Sun Commission is one of the best in the world and we support their decision."
Penick's Analysis: I have to hope that it's only a paperwork issue here, because if something more was found for Foster, that's a very scary thing. Having undergone brain surgery once already, continuing to compete in a sport where you get punched in the face for a living isn't necessarily the safest thing to do. Though he's fought twice since that brain surgery, if something more has come up here it is really scary. However, if it's simply an issue of paperwork not being submitted to clear him, then it's not nearly as bad.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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