Controversy Creeps as 170 Tourney Kicks Off Bellator Season 4

By Joseph Zigler

LEMOORE, Calif. — Saturday night at the Tachi Palace, Bellator’s fourth season got underway as four welterweights advanced to the semifinals of the promotion’s 170-pound tournament. However, the quarterfinals were not without controversy.

Tournament favorite Jay Hieron didn’t need long to defeat Anthony Lapsley and advance in the Bellator tournament tournament, but the win was marred by an awkward, premature stoppage. Hieron controlled the entirety of the brief fight with dominant top position against the cage. When Lapsley tried to roll and change position, Hieron stopped striking in order to hunt for submissions.

Lapsley took issue with the stoppage.
On one such occasion, “The Recipe” found himself caught in a rear-naked choke. Lapsley refused to tap, but ceased to move, leading referee Josh Rosenthal to grab his hand and halt the fight at 3:39 of the first round.

Lapsley, who took the bout on short notice replacing an injured Steve Carl, sat up immediately and complained about the stoppage as the crowd also voiced their displeasure. However, in a post-fight interview, Rosenthal stated that Lapsley’s arm was stiff and unresponsive when he grabbed it to check on the fighter, while Lapsley protested that the arm Rosenthal checked was actually being held by Hieron.

“I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the stoppage was not a good stoppage and I know Anthony Lapsley was prepared for this fight, ready to rock and roll,” Bellator boss Bjorn Rebney said after the event, promising that Lapsley would be back inside the Bellator cage.

“I take nothing away from Jay; he’s tough,” a disappointed Lapsley said. “The stoppage didn’t go how I liked it, but I’ll be back. Don’t ever count me out.”


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