By Hobson Lopes,

When Eric Prindle entered the season five Bellator heavyweight tournament, he wasn't a known commodity. At that point in his career, he was 5-1 with the majority of his wins coming via stoppage and he was ready for his chance to become a star in the sport of mixed martial arts. He had fought just once in Bellator, defeating Josh Burns in his debut fight via TKO (doctor's stoppage) prior to the tournament, but he did enough to earn his spot.

In the opening round of the tournament, he defeated Abe Wagner via unanimous decision. Four weeks later, he took to the cage to battle Ron Sparks and needed just 40 seconds to earn the knockout victory, advancing to the finals to fight Thiago Santos.

Santos wasn't originally in the tournament, but he earned his chance after defeating Burns in a reserve bout and took the place of Mike Hayes after he suffered an injury. He would defeat Neil Grove via submission at 38 seconds of the first round in his lone tournament fight, setting up the final with Prindle.

On Nov. 26, Bellator 59 was the home to the heavyweight finals, pitting Prindle against the tough Brazilian. Prindle found the mat early and as he was kicking at Santos' leg, Santos landed an inadvertent groin shot, ending the fight after Prindle was unable to continue. The last fight of season five was forced to season six.

The two men were set to fight on March 16, but "flu-like" symptoms forced the postponement of the finals. It was announced during the telecast of Bellator 60 that the two men would fight at Bellator 61 to determine who would go on to fight Cole Conrad for the Bellator heavyweight title.

During the weigh-ins for Bellator 61, Prindle came in at 265.2 pounds, but Santos weighed in at 277.8 pounds, 11.8 pounds heavier than allowed. The fight was cancelled and Prindle was awarded the tournament victory.

It has been a long, turbulent six months for Prindle. This span saw him enter the heavyweight grand prix, win his first two fights with ease, get kicked where no man ever wants to be kicked, get the flu and then when finally ready to fight, doesn't get the chance, but earns a title shot anyway because of his opponent missing weight.

Only in the sport of MMA can something like this happen.

For a look at the best fights for some of the most popular fighters in the UFC and 2011 division recaps, go here.

More from this contributor:

Ronda Rousey the new Face of WMMA

Interview with Invicta FC VP/Owner, Shannon Knapp

What's next for Quinton Jackson Following UFC 144 Loss?

2011 MMA Awards

Who will replace MMA stars of yesterday?

Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Bellator 140 card set with addition of four prelims, including Waylon Lowe-Ryan Quinn

  • 29 days ago
  • 12 views

The card for Bellator 140 is set with the addition of four preliminary bouts.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Paul Daley promises to go "nuclear" on Koscheck in Bellator rematch

  • 29 days ago
  • 26 views

Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley is looking forward to a busy second-half of 2015. The British welterweight faces Dennis Olson at Bellator 140 on July 17, then will begin training for a GLORY bout on the Bellator read news >>

Bellator and Glory present Dynamite: Full event coverage September 19

  • 29 days ago
  • 5 views

Get all the coverage here for the return of Dynamite, as Bellator and Glory co-promote an MMA/kickboxing show September 19. Bellator teased a major announcement for today regarding one of their corne read news >>

Cheick Kongo open to fights with Lashley, 'Kimbo Slice,' wants to stay active

  • 29 days ago
  • 2 views

Bellator heavyweight Cheick Kongo is open to fighting anyone on the promotion’s big-man roster, as long as he gets to it soon.Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos read news >>

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #1993 with Cheick Kongo and David Rickels

  • 29 days ago
  • 0 views

Stream or download Tuesday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Cheick Kongo and David Rickels.Filed under: Bellator, MMAjunkie Radio, News, Radio read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio (noon ET): Bellator 'Knockout of the Year' candidate Hisaki Kato

  • 29 days ago
  • 4 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) with guest Hisaki Kato.Filed under: Bellator, MMAjunkie Radio, News read news >>

Hisaki Kato on Bellator 139 upset: 'I was there to be knocked out by Joe Schilling'

  • 29 days ago
  • 2 views

Hisaki Kato said he was purposely positioned as an underdog to Joe Schilling at Bellator 139.Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos read news >>

Legend of 'Scarface': How Jose Aldo's latest withdrawal could impact his legacy (Yahoo Sports)

  • 29 days ago
  • 13 views

From Yahoo Sports: Aldo's rib injury was preventable, which makes it even more maddening for UFC president Dana White. read news >>

Legend of 'Scarface': How Jose Aldo's latest withdrawal could impact his legacy (Yahoo Sports)

  • 29 days ago
  • 39 views

From Yahoo Sports: Aldo's rib injury was preventable, which makes it even more maddening for UFC president Dana White. read news >>

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, June 30: 'Soldier of God' on the rise

  • 29 days ago
  • 0 views

After a weekend with Bellator 139 and UFC Fight Night 70, the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA rankings got an update, and “Soldier of God” was the big winner.Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, read news >>