Bellator’s upcoming bantamweight tournament has taken two big hits. Current champ Sergio Pettis has withdrawn from the tournament, along with Irish fan-favorite James Gallagher.
Pettis’ withdrawal from the tournament was first reported Tuesday by Brent Brookhouse of CBS Sports.
Pettis was booked to meet Raufeon Stots at Bellator 279 on April 23rd. He will now be replaced by former titleholder Juan Archuleta, who was already announced for the bracket but hadn’t been booked for a matchup yet.
Another fight in the opening round of the bracket between Kyoji Horiguchi and Patchy Mix is also expected to take place on that April card.
Pettis played a big part in the tournament, as he was the defending champion at bantamweight. Due to his absence from the tournament, an interim belt will be on the line instead.
The first interim champion will be crowned in the opening round of the tournament when Archuleta and Stots face off. The expectation is that the interim champ will then attempt to defend their belt through the next two rounds of the bracket.
Pettis reportedly withdrew from the tournament with an undisclosed injury. It is not known when he will be able to compete next.
Gallagher’s departure from the tournament was reported Wednesday by Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated.
Gallagher did not have a fight for the tournament announced yet, but was expected to be part of the eight-man field. His replacement has not been confirmed yet, but will reportedly be announced soon.