This had to be the most painful of days this fight week for UFC bantamweight Brian Kelleher. Not just for the physical anguish but the mental and emotional part as well.
Yes, he missed weight by one pound on Friday morning after putting his body through the grueling process of dehydrating and cutting weight the night before.
But, on Saturday morning, the day of UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Kelleher wrestled with an illness instead of grappling with an opponent. Kelleher, from Selden, was forced to withdraw from his bantamweight bout against Montel Jackson.
“Just devastated,” he said via text message.
Kelleher, 32, told Newsday he thinks the illness was caused by food poisoning and that he doesn’t believe it was related to cutting weight earlier in the week.
Kelleher said he tried to fight through the pain and wait it out as long as possible, hoping the problem would progress through his body enough to the point where he could make the walk to the octagon to fight Jackson (6-1). This was supposed to be his return bout after being knocked out by John Lineker last May for the first time in his 28-fight career.
“I was in touch with my manager all morning,” Kelleher said via text message, “but we didn’t want to officially pull out until we absolutely had to.”
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