Thiago Santos' manager makes no excuses for his fighter missing weight for Friday's Bellator 62 event.
That said, he's not exactly thrilled at the circumstances that were presented to his client.
Despite Bellator Fighting Championships CEO Bjorn Rebney's decision not to cut Santos for the infraction and to instead help connect him with a nutritional expert, manager Josef Borges believes the company should take a little responsibility for the misstep.
"What happened with Thiago was that he needed to cut a lot of weight for the fight on March 16," Borges told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) in his native Portuguese. "He cut 12 kilograms (27.5 pounds) up until 1 p.m. of March 15, when I called him to inform him the fight was postponed. At that moment, he was only 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) from making weight.
"I reaffirm that he would make the weight, as was the case in his three previous Bellator bouts. But the event was postponed by one week, and so he had difficulties in cutting the 15 kilograms (33 pounds) yet again. He lost 9 kilograms (19.8 pounds) but could not lose the remainder, despite a hard battle against the scale. He was emotionally perturbed."
Santos earned his way into Bellator's season-five tournament final with impressive submission wins over Neil Grove and Josh Burns. He then faced Prindle in the finals of the tourney only to see the fight end in a no-contest after kicking his opponent in the groin. The controversial ending set up a rematch at this past week's Bellator 61 event. However, that fight was delayed one week when Prindle was stricken with "flu-like symptoms."
When Santos failed to make weight for the rescheduled rematch at Friday night's Bellator 62 event, he was pulled from the fight, and his opponent was awarded a season-five tournament victory.
Rebney blamed the issue on a poor nutritional approach, but Borges disagrees. He believes forcing his client to cut weight in consecutive weeks was the real culprit.
"I don't agree with the way Bjorn spoke about Thiago," Borges said. "Thiago fought three times for Bellator and made weight every time. He would have made weight again on March 15. In my opinion, the fight should have been rescheduled for another date. Cutting weight two weeks in a row is very difficult, and Thiago was not ready to do this.
"We respect the contract we signed, but it does not state that he'd have to lose weight two weeks in a row. He came ready to make weight on March 15 and was going to. He was only 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) above the weight he made for his other Bellator fights. As such, making weight on March 15 would not have been a problem."
Rebney contends he witnessed first-hand a few poor dietary decisions by "Big Monster" and vowed to get his fighter assistance. However, Borges believes some of those circumstances have been a bit overstated and is comfortable with the career advice his client is currently receiving.
"Thiago has a good trainer," Borges said. "His master, Cezar 'Casquinha' Guimaraes, is a Carlson Gracie graduate. That's Thiago's style. He does not have an amateur trainer.
Regarding his diet, Thiago comes a very impoverished region. He does not make much money yet, and can't change his dietary habits suddenly. This must be done gradually, so it's done correctly. I can't force him to substitute beans for sashimi from one day to the next. These things take time. I am aware of the factors, but these changes take time to be implemented."
Santos' next fight has yet to be determined. The company just kicked off its sixth season, and a heavyweight tournament is not part of current plans. The Brazilian heavyweight, who hovers around 300 pounds prior to his fights, has thus far remained quiet on the situation.
Meanwhile, Borges isn't content to do the same. While he appreciates Bellator's support of his client, he also believes the promotion should take some of the responsibility for what happened, as well.
"I wish to communicate to Bjorn that the reason for not making the weight was not from eating mashed potatoes," Borges said. "In this instance the change of the fight date very much affected Thiago emotionally.
"We were told we had one week and that's it. If we had two weeks the fight would have happened."