Welterweight details release from UFC and plans for Bellator
The past year has been as tough a fight for Brian Foster as any opponent he has faced in the cage.
The Oklahoma native was coming off back to back wins and riding a wave of momentum as he began to establish himself in the UFC welterweight division. Everything appeared to be falling into place.
But as he prepared to meet Sean Pierson at UFC 129, Foster received news that would stop him in his tracks.
His pre-fight medicals showed a brain hemorrhage. Once the UFC was informed about the situation, he was pulled from the card. Despite the setback, Foster remained hopeful about his recovery and went about the process of meeting the list of medical requirements handed down from the UFC.
After a full recovery and a clean bill of health, he presented the information to the UFC. The organization was still hesitant to put him back into action.
“We went to all the doctors we were supposed to. I completed two or three scheduled MRI’s and had meetings with brain surgeons and top neurologists. Everybody cleared me to fight, but I guess for the UFC, it hadn’t been enough time. They still didn’t feel too comfortable with my situation. They didn’t see any reason for me to jump back into the cage – which is understandable – but I was ready to go. We did everything the UFC asked us to do, but in reality, I guess it just wasn’t enough.
“I’m not the type of guy who likes to be off for long periods or be on the sidelines. I started to get anxious and antsy. I wanted to fight. The UFC told us to go ahead and get a couple of fights under our belt, that it wouldn’t be a bad thing to get [wins] outside of the organization. We did and took the information back to them. Showed the UFC all the clearances I had received from doctors and commissions for the fights I had taken and asked them what was next.
“The UFC said they still weren’t necessarily sure, and with Bellator and several other organizations knocking on the door, I knew I had a decision to make. Bellator made a great offer and it was too good of a deal to turn down. Every fight I have with them is guaranteed to be televised and that is awesome for the sponsors I have in addition to the ones I get in the future.”
In the time between departing from the UFC and his signing with Bellator, Foster took a pair of fights in two weeks time. Both affairs were quick bits of violence, as he walked away with first round submission victories over Jack Mason and Laverne Clark.
“I fought on October 1st in England for Cage Warriors and October 15th in Springfield Illinois. Fighting over in England was great. Marc [Fiore] has a good relationship with Graham Boylan, who owns and does all of the production for Cage Warriors. They got me all set up over there. It was my first fight back and I mixed it up with a guy who was top five over in England. I caught him with a spinning back kick that took the air out. Then I hit him with a flying knee and guillotined him to end the fight.
“The second fight was a first round arm bar. Laverne Clark is a pretty tough dude. He had been in the UFC for a couple of fights, and I went in there and took care of business. I want to stay busy and I just want to fight. I’m not like some of these other guys where they think they need to take time off. As long as I’m healthy and not hurt, I want to fight.”
Bellator’s deep welterweight division made the decision to sign much easier for Foster.
“The 170lb weight class is the best division under the Bellator banner. I’m coming in to whoop some ass. These guys have no idea what is coming for them. These guys all like to talk about fighting and everybody loves to play the part, but they are about to run into a brick wall. I’m going to be in next season’s welterweight tournament and I’m excited about bringing the scrap.
“When I do get started, the other 170lb fighters are going be regretting they brought me over here. People are going to have a few nightmares. They know I’m not a single discipline fighter and I can do it all. Their champion is a single discipline fighter. He’s a wrestler, and a very good one, but he’s into getting you down and laying on you. That isn’t how I fight. I’m bringing diversity to the division and where you think you’re good and where you know you suck at – I’m going to exploit both of them. There are going to be some bad days ahead for the other welterweights on the roster.”
The sun has broken the horizon in Foster’s world. He’s got a contract and guaranteed television time, and he’s happy. After coming face to face with the possibility his career had come to an end, being able to return to fighting has the Fiore MMA trained fighter ready for whatever comes his way.
“I’m picking up where I left off. I’m a strong-willed cat. I have good momentum and I’m just happy with life. I’m in a good place mentally and physically. I feel the best I ever have. Honestly, I feel God does these things to me because I get ahead of myself. He does it to slow me down. I’ll get so far ahead of myself. I want to be so active and productive, I have to be forced to stop. It’s crazy but I chalk it up to God wanting me to slow down.
“It doesn’t matter how tough it gets, I’m always going to keep fighting. I think fighting brings out the best in me and overall makes me a better person.”