Early last month, former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren was determined to be ineligible to fight by the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, following a review of medical documentation he submitted. Further, there was a rumor that Warren got knocked out in training, something the fighter flatly denied; in any case, this did not factor into the ACs decision.
Michael Mazzulli, Director of Athletic Regulation for the Mohegan Tribe, is widely respected for putting fighter safety first.
However, in an interview with MMAFighting, Warren took issue with the action taken over an abnormality on his MRI.
"They were telling me that I had a stroke. That I was never fighting," said Warren. "It was crazy."
"It was all a mistake. We had three different doctors reading the image wrong from thousands of miles away."
Warren was eventually cleared and went on to beat Nick Kirk last Friday night at Bellator 101.
In an interview with MMAJunkie's Steve Marrocco, Mazzuli took issue with Warren's complaints.
"I'm not going to take the responsibility for clearing a fighter that my neurologist states should not be in the cage," said Mazzuli. "He should be grateful more than being so argumentative over the issue."
"Mr. Warren has to understand that the Mohegan Tribal Athletic Department looks out for the best interest of the fighter, and there were three doctors that all concurred that he needed to hold off to make sure this was no issue."
Mazzulli said that Warren is remembering things wrong in his recounting of the process. The official said that the Mohegan AC neurologist Tony Alessi, who consults with the NFL Player's Association on concussions, confirmed the abnormality and consulted with Warren's neurologist in Denver. Both reached the conclusion that the fighter needed to wait 10 days to make sure the MRI was clear.
The commissioner said his experience in combat sports has taught him that caution is never a bad thing when dealing with the health and safety of athletes.
"Mr. Warren should also realize that his life is in jeopardy, as well, so he should understand that and get his facts straight," said Mazzulli.
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