Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has finally come out and given his reasoning for placing women’s champion Zoila Gurgel on the prelims for this Friday’s Bellator 78 card.
Gurgel, the 115-pound champion in the promotion, will face Casey Noland in a non-title bout at 125 pounds. The card takes place in Dayton, near Gurgel’s current training home of Cincinnati.
Rebney offered up his decision in an interview with MMA Fighting.
Zoila’s been plagued by injury after injury over the last 19 months, having not fought since March 2011. We felt that the best road back for her did not include rushing her into a major fight against one of the top-ranked women in the world. This is not a world title fight as it’s made significantly north of the 115 weight limit where she holds our title. Depending on how Zoila feels and performs Friday, we can then determine the next appropriate step back.
Miesha Tate, a former Strikeforce women’s champion, was outraged by Gurgel’s placement on the card, especially after she was featured on the event posters.