Cal Ellenor reveals 'start of brain illness,' apologizes for Bellator Dublin withdrawal

Cal Ellenor was all set for the biggest opportunity of his mixed martial arts career as he prepared to take on Irish rising star James Gallagher in the main event of Bellator Europe 4 on Sept. 27 in Dublin. Now the Englishman finds himself out of the event and contemplating his next move after receiving crushing news from his medicals.

Ellenor (8-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) was forced off the card earlier this week, but the detail was undisclosed until Ellenor posted a personal video message Wednesday on his Instagram page to explain why.

Safe MMA, the non-profit organization that assists with medical checks and maintaining fighter medical records in the U.K. and Ireland, flagged an issue with Ellenor’s brain scan and recommended he visit a neurologist for a clinical assessment. When that assessment came, the news wasn’t good.

“Basically he looked at my scans and told me I had a gap in my frontal lobe that wasn’t there previously, and that I also had three black spots of damage on the right side of my brain,” Ellenor said.

“He basically told me it was the start of brain illness, and it wasn’t a case of what could happen, but it was a case of what will happen. His advice was he doesn’t want me to ever take another shot again. He doesn’t think it’s a wise move to even continue training at all, never mind fight. Obviously I was devastated about it.

“He said it didn’t matter if I got his signature or not, the doctors would still have to see the assessment from my scan, and none of them would be happy to let me fight because I am high risk. So he left me there telling me I have to retire.”

Now Ellenor, who picked up a first-round win over former Cage Warriors flyweight champion Nathan Greyson in his Bellator debut in February, is facing the prospect of never being able to compete again, as well as concerns over his ongoing brain health.

But with the enforced withdrawal of his main event fight with Gallagher still fresh in his mind, the Sunderland native wanted to publicly apologize to the Irishman for his late pullout before admitting he was unsure what was next and thanking his fans, friends and family for their support.

“I just want to give a massive apology to James Gallagher,” Ellenor said. “It’s not ideal training for someone, having a whole camp and specifically getting people in. He’s been bringing tall kickboxers in for sparring, so I want to say sorry to him about the whole situation. It’s a nightmare for him as much as it is for me.

“I’ve put my life into this and killed myself and really did believe this was my opportunity to change my life. But something good will come from it, so thanks (to my friends and family) for sticking by us.

“Whatever lies for my future I’m not sure yet, as far as fighting goes. But hopefully I can get some kind of resolution and get it all sorted. Either way, if that’s it, massively thanks for helping us out the whole time, and I’m sure I’ll sort something out for the future. Cheers.”

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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