Bellator 137: Benji Radach Says he “Owed it to Himself” to Fight Again
By Kelsey Mowatt
Last week, Bellator likely raised the collective eyebrows of the MMA world, when it announced Benji Radach was stepping in for the injured AJ Matthews this Friday, and will face Ben Reiter.
The reason that old school fans and observers may have been surprised to hear the news, is because Radach hasn’t fought since December, 2010, when he was stopped by Ovince Saint Preux at a Strikeforce card. If they followed news regarding the middleweight, then they were aware that Radach was hit with a rash of serious injuries, so much so, they may have concluded his fighting days were over.
Well, nearly 15 years after he started professionally fighting, and endured through 13 surgeries, Radach is still looking to battle.
“I’ve had some pretty narly surgeries, so during these times you definitely ask yourself, man, do I keep going?, do I hang it up and do something else?,” the 36 year-old Radach said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio. “After all these surgeries and stuff, I healed up from everything good, and I felt confident enough and that I owed it to myself to get in here and do it again after that last fight.”
“I wasn’t myself in that at all,” Radach noted about his loss to OSP. “As you can tell, I fought Ovince, and it was pretty much taking an ass kicking for some money. The training camp was wrong, I didn’t do everything right in training camp, I wasn’t there mentally, and the result, I paid for it really bad. I’ve just been really pushing myself to get back in there.”
The 21-6 fighter had been thinking about returning to the cage, but clearly, Radach didn’t expect it to be this Friday. “The Razor” had been working up in Alaska.
“I was up in Alaska working as a pile buck, working in narly conditions, a lot of hours, and then came right back. Started training for a week, just light training in the gym, not knowing I had a fight, and then Dennis (Hallman) called me and was like ‘hey, you want to take this fight?’,” Radach revealed. “Went and watched the guy, and I like the style match-up. So I agreed to it.”
Reiter (15-0-1), on the other hand, had been preparing to face the aforementioned Matthews. The 27 year-old made his Bellator debut in September, and earned a unanimous decision win over Shamir Garcia.
“I’m literally going to have one week of fight training before I fight this guy” added the UFC vet.
Bellator 137 will be hosted by the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California.