The Illinois Athletic Commission (IAC) and their governing body, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) have sure had their share bungles as of late. Whether its stopping a fight due to a phantom tap or very literally costing a fighter a million dollars, the IAC has seen better days. This, unfortunately, isn’t the first time the state-run organization has been under the MMA microscope.
Less I remind you of Bellator 198, that ever so stacked card along the shores of lake Michigan, that for the most part largely lived up to the expectations. Albeit the most compelling fight of the night never materialized, “I failed my eye exam for the Illinois Athletic Commission,” John Salter revealed to MyMMANews.
“I’ve had 18 professional fights; seven amateur fights and I’ve never had any issues. I always pass my eye tests and my vision hasn’t gotten any worse.” Salter speculates, “I fought in Illinois before, they must have changed their standards.”
Unfortunately the Rafael Lovato Jr/John Salter fight didn’t materialize at Bellator 198. Lovato went on to defeat Gerald Harris in Chicago, as for Salter, he now turns his attention Bellator’s newest free agent acquisition and former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida.
“The fight that I really want and the fight that I think would be best for Bellator is Machida,” explained Salter.
“I think we would put on a good show and it will show the strength of Bellator, bringing in a UFC champ and putting him against me, that could really prove to everybody just how strong Bellator’s divisions really are.”
There will likely be no shortage of suiters lining up to welcome ‘The Dragon’ into the Bellator ranks; Rory Macdonald and Gegard Mousasi have already expressed their interest in fighting the Karate master. If Salter doesn’t get to welcome Machida to the Bellator cage, he believes a title shot is the only other feasible option.
“I feel like I should be the guy that gets the title shot for the last two years now,” Salter asserted.
“I’m not trying to be a diva; I’m ready for anyone and ill fight anyone. I just feel I’ve earned my due and I should get to fight who I want as long as I’m picking legitimate guys [to fight]”
Legitimate as it relates to MMA can be a futile pursuit, on the other hand, something that is undeniable- Salter is riding an impressive seven fight win streak and sports an equally impressive 15-3 record. But the 33-year-old Salty Dog Jiu Jitsu ace feels like he is just now hitting his athletic prime. “I’m absolutely just getting started,” Salter assured MyMMANews.
“I’ve been striking for 11 years now, and I feel like that culmination of striking is really going to show in my next fight.” Salter continued, “I feel really confident in my striking now, and I always have my wrestling. To many wrestlers stop wrestling and just strike. I’ve never done that.”
Whether or not Salter is the welcoming-wagon for the newly signed Machida or not may not matter, one would think the path to the middleweight strap must run though North Carolina, in particular, Salty Dog Jiu Jitsu’s John Salter.