MFC 37 loses main event due to Barnett eye injury; Pavelich blames manager

Barnett won a unanimous decision over the seasoned veteran Ivey.
Chris Barnett defeats a wily veteran in his pro debut.
After more than two years on the sidelines athletic heavyweight Chris “Beast Boy” Barnett (7-1) will have to wait even longer for his return to MMA action. In fact, his career as a pro mixed martial arts fighter could be in serious jeopardy.

The 26-year-old Floridian was scheduled to fight Smealinho Rama (6-0) for Maximum Fighting Championship’s heavyweight title Friday night in the MFC 37 main event in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

However, during pre-fight medicals an examination of Barnett’s eyes revealed three holes in a retina, and a review from two of Barnett’s doctors as well as Dr. Shelby Karpman, Edmonton Combative Sports Commission’s head physician, concluded that if Barnett were struck again it could cause serious damage to his eyes including possible blindness.

Because of the risk involved and at the suggestion of the doctors, Barnett has been pulled from the fight. Rama will be paid his show money and will immediately be put into a title fight at MFC’s next event according to MFC officials.

MFC Owner/President Mark Pavelich commented on losing his main event:

“I’m disappointed for Chris Barnett, but definitely more so for Smealinho Rama who trained so diligently for the title shot he desperately wanted. Rama is such a talented young fighter and on top of that a really good kid. I promised him that he’s not going anywhere – he’s the undisputed No. 1 contender and he’ll get that title shot right away.”

Pavelich feels MFC could have found a replacement for Barnett had they been notified earlier about his eye issues:

“It’s an absolute shame that it came down to this, and it didn’t have to go this way for Rama at all. Had Barnett’s manager Mickey Dubberly been more professional and more on top of things, we would have been notified at least two weeks ago that there was an issue with the medicals. Instead we find out one day before he’s scheduled to leave. With proper notice we could have found a suitable replacement and had the title fight but because of irresponsible management, Rama and the MFC fans have been robbed of that opportunity.”

Former co-headliners Ryan Benoit and Anthony Birchak will now move into the main event spot for their highly anticipated bantamweight match-up. And a middleweight match-up between Allen Hope and Paul Grandbois will move from the undercard to the opening fight on the AXStv broadcast.
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