After the shock apparent withdrawal of domestic rival Mark Godbeer, James Hulheron is still determined to show the world he’s the best heavyweight in the Britain when Bellator 158 touches down on UK shores next month – and he doesn’t care who he has to run through to prove it.
BAMMA heavyweight champion Godbeer disappointed British fight fans today when he took to social media to announce he was withdrawing from the London O2 fight card on July 16th. That’s now three times a matchup between the two most exciting up-and-coming British heavyweights has fallen apart.
Mulheron, however, will remain on the card insist matchmakers, who have had to work day and night as Bellator’s UK debut has undergone a series of reshuffles in the aftermath of original headliner Kimbo Slice’s tragic passing just last month.
Popular North East striker Mulheron told FO this morning: “I’m so disappointed I’m not going to get to prove to the fans once and for all who the best heavyweight in Britain is. That’s what I wanted more than anything. But at least I’m still on the card and, listen, I’ll fight anybody.
“I don’t know whether Mark has officially pulled out or not, and if he changes his mind, great. Let’s get it on and prove who’s the best. But to pull out now with three weeks to go when he’s not even injured. Well, that’s just not something I would never do.
“People have paid for tickets and travel, booked hotels and I’ve took time off work to train – so has he. Regardless of anything else, this is the biggest stage available to us and the winner would have been in a strong position to sign a big contract with a big promotion. So to walk away now is crazy.”
Following this morning’s social media statement, in which he accepts the fight was never contracted to be on the main card, Godbeer isn’t taking calls from media or Bellator’s UK matchmakers. But Mulheron revealed they actually exchange messages less than 24 hours ago and that the Somerset-based fighter was upset at being moved down the bill.
“I actually spoke to him over messenger last night and he told me how disappointed he was that we’d been bumped down to the prelims,” Mulheron says. “He told me he was losing money in sponsorships and things like that, but it’s still a massive opportunity for both of us to show what we can do on the big stage.
“Prelims or not, I’m planning on showing the world I’m the best heavyweight this country has to offer and that I’m deserving of being on a main card anywhere in the world. This is a stage to do that. But I never thought he would walk. That’s three times now a fight between us has failed to come off, and it’s not fair on the fans.”
The two heavyweights, who carry 19 wins and just three losses between them, were due to fight two years ago on a Made for the Cage event in the North East before Godbeer picked up a back injury. He then called Mulheron out for a fight on BAMMA, which was accepted, but again that failed to materialize.
Mulheron finished: “I just want to say that I’m here, I’m ready and I’ll face anybody – whether that’s Mark Godbeer or somebody else. If he’s that upset with his management or whatever, then bin them after this fight. But, what can I do? I just want to fight and move my career on now.
“I’m in the best shape of my career and I’ll face anybody. I even asked to fight James Thompson, who was originally scheduled to face Kimbo in the main event. But I’m told our contracts are too different for that fight to happen. Which is a shame because that fight would have been a privilege, as he’s a real veteran and a gentleman.
“But as long as I’m fighting, I’ll fight anybody. I’ll face any heavyweight in the world because I don’t want to miss out on this opportunity. This is a night that I’ve worked hard to ensure is the moment I really kick start the best years of my career. So, I’ve told them already, bring on anybody. I’ll be in London and I’ll be waiting in the cage!”
* Bellator 158 will be co-headlined by heavyweights Matt Mitrione vs. Oli Thompson and the welterweight clash featuring Paul Daly vs. Douglas Lima. Other standout matchups on the 13-bout card include Michael Page vs. Evangelista Santos at 170lb and an unofficial light heavyweight title eliminator featuring Linton Vassell vs. Francis Carmont.