Bellator officials knew the risks, and unfortunately, it resulted in a worst-case scenario.
Team Quest fighter Tyson Nam (12-4) knocked out Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas (14-3) Saturday at "Shooto Brazil 33: Fight for BOPE 2" in Brazil.
Bellator granted permission to Dantas, who's cracked the division's top 10 during his recent Bellator title reign, to fight outside the organization in order to avoid an extended layoff.
Shooto Brazil 33 took place at a private venue and served as a fundraiser for Batalhao de Operacoes Policiais Especiais (Special Police Operations Battalion), Rio de Janeiro's military special forces.
Nam, who kept the fighting standing, pushed the pace and traded heavy punches in the fight. When Dantas pushed forward with a series of knees, Nam instantly dropped him with a counter right hand that left his opponent unconscious.
The stoppage, which came at the 1:40 mark of the opening round, left the crowd in stunned silence. Nam immediately left the ring (and venue) as Dantas remained asleep on the canvas.
Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney, who currently has Dantas slotted to fight recent tourney winner Marcos Galvao on Nov. 2 in a Bellator 79 title fight, said Dantas' situation isn't necessarily unique.
"Dantas wanted to fight (in Brazil),"
Rebney told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) on Friday. "He called us, and I had no problem with that. I let Hector (Lombard) fight (outside the organization) when he was here. I let Eddie (Alvarez) fight overseas. I've let Alexander Shlemenko fight four or five times outside the organization.
"Dantas is going to stay sharper fighting than not fighting, so I wanted him fighting."