EXCLUSIVE: Chris Fields reveals reason for Bellator 173 withdrawal
Irish MMA fighter won't be able to fight in Belfast19:20 Monday 20 February 2017, 19:20 20 Feb 2017
Chris Fields has exclusively revealed to Newstalk that a carotid artery injury that was found in a pre-fight scan forced him out of his main event bout with Liam McGeary at Bellator 173 this Friday at Belfast’s SSE Arena.
SevereMMA.com broke the news that Fields was off the card after confirming it with Bellator officials earlier this evening.
In his first interview since the announcement, Fields claimed that after the injury was found in a scan in Ireland, he visited a specialist in London who was unable to help him with the injury.
“It’s a strange one,” said Fields. “It’s not like I’ve torn my knee or something. I have a problem with the carotid artery in my neck. It will clear up by itself, but just not in time for the fight.
“It was picked up in a scan and I was told I couldn’t fight. I flew to England to see a specialist about it to try and get it sorted, but I couldn’t get it sorted. Basically, I can’t get medically cleared.
“It’s tough because I feel like I’m ready to go.”
The SBG Swords man stated that no medical procedure has to be undertaken to fix the injury, but it could take up to a month for it to clear up.
Chris Fields ©INPHO/Gary Carr
“From what I’ve been told by the specialist is that it could be fine within a month. The artery is pinched so the blood flow is reduced. The specialist said that an impact to the artery could cause a blood clot in my situation.
“Of course I’m not happy that it’s happened, but this is the game now. I guess it’s just hard because I have absolutely no symptoms or pain of any description. I’m being told that I can fight and I’m in the best shape of my life.
“Again, I’m not a doctor so I can’t complain about the findings, but it’s just very hard to take.
“I felt like Liam was a great fight for me. I feel like it would have been a great fight for everyone in terms of entertainment. I’m not going to be able to do it now, and that’s devastating.”
Fields has missed out on three consecutive fights due to his opponents pulling out and sympathized with McGeary, who will face Vladimir Filipovic in the main event instead.
“Since April last year it’s been constant bad luck with opponents pulling out on me, and now, unfortunately, I have to do it to Liam. I feel sick for him because I know how it feels to be on that side of it.
“This was the biggest fight of my career and I don’t think I have ever been as prepared for a fight in my whole life. That’s all been taken away now.”
Although he won’t make the walk for his debut on Friday in Belfast, Bellator have told Fields that he still has a future with the promotion.
“Bellator have explained to me that I’m still a Bellator fighter. I don’t know the ins and outs of it just yet, but I assume that they will be able to match me whenever this injury clears up.
“For my own selfish reasons I didn’t want Liam to get another opponent, I hoped that we could do it in London in May instead. I completely understand him wanting to fight, though.”
After spending the guts of a year in fight camp, Fields is going to focus on his family and take a holiday instead of going to the event on Friday night. He highlighted the great effort that has been put into his camp by those around him, which makes his withdrawal a lot harder for him to accept.
“My wife has been doing everything with our son while I got ready for this fight. I’m very lucky in that I can spend a lot of time with my son because of my job, but really I’ve been doing all the fun stuff since I’ve been in camp.
“Even our families have been helping us out when we’re stuck and I have to go training. People don’t really realise how many people a fight camp affects. A lot of people went out of their way for me and now I can’t even fight to justify the effort they put in.
“Tom King has had a lot more to do at our gym because of the camp. Cathal [Pendred] doesn’t even fight for a living anymore and he came up and helped me out. Kieran Davern, Philip Mulpeter, and so many other people have given up their time to help me get ready. I really wanted to get out there and represent them.”
Although the carotid artery injury has put a stop to his Bellator bow on Friday, Fields is confident that there will be no issues with him competing once his carotid artery injury is cleared up.
“As far as I know, there will be no problem with me fighting in Ireland, or anywhere, once that has cleared up. Until it’s cleared, I won’t be able to fight anywhere.”
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