Brian Foster said he's in the best shape of his life and he's never felt better.*
Unfortunately, a paperwork snafu dredged up his past and brought to nothing the 12 weeks of work he put in for his since-postponed Bellator debut.
Now, the fighter told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) he will retire if doesn't fight by June.*
"I'm not going to give to a sport that's just not giving back to me," Foster (18-5 MMA, 0-0 BFC) said.*
Foster was scheduled to appear in Bellator's season-six welterweight tournament, which kicks off Friday at Bellator 63. But Jordan Smith replaced him when the Mohegan Sun Commission declined him clearance for the MTV2-televised event, which takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Smith meets Foster's original opponent, David Rickels.*
Foster said he is medically cleared to fight, but the paperwork proving so didn't get to the commission in time.*
"This has been an ongoing problem for a year now since my release from the UFC," he said. "The doctors have released me from all my injuries or whatever the UFC released me for – the brain hemorrhage thing back in April of last year.*
"I'm healed. I've been in the best shape I've ever been in, I've been training my ass off for 12 weeks, and I don't get to put up a fight. I'm a little aggravated."
Foster has fought twice since the UFC released him and earned consecutive first-round submission wins. When he signed on for Bellator's season-six tournament in January, he was one of the more experienced fighters in the eight-man competition.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney today told MMAjunkie.com the promotion hopes to get Foster cleared with the Mohegan Sun Commission before getting him a fight in May or June. If all goes well, Foster will participate in the next welterweight tournament, which is planned for September.*
"We're going to re-marshall everything, and I think approach it with ... Mohegan to get everything cleared up and get any unanswered questions answered," Rebney said. "As soon as we get that done, we'll look to get him busy in short order and look to include him in the fall welterweight tournament after we get him a fight once before."
The news can't come quick enough for Foster, who recently relocated to Texas to work with Team Takedown fighters Johny Hendricks, Shane Roller and Jared Rosholt.*
"Tournament or not, I'm going to whoop (Bellator welterweight champion) Ben Askren's ass," he said. "I'm a champion, and that's just what it is."
Foster was pulled from UFC 129 this past April when an MRI revealed a brain hemorrhage likely caused by a hard sparring session. A doctor cleared him two months later when a second MRI revealed no permanent damage to his brain, but the UFC medically released him soon after.
"I respect their wishes on wanting to keep me healthy," Foster said of the Mohegan commission. "I'll do whatever the hell they want me to do. I've already jumped through all the necessary hoops. It's just getting everyone to feel comfortable with letting me fight and knowing that I'm not going to be injured further."