It’s safe to say that Pat Healy‘s week did not go at all according to plan.
If everything worked out, Healy would have been fighting on Saturday night against Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. Instead, because of an injury suffered by Melendez in training just a week out from the fight, the entire Strikeforce card got cancelled and Healy is at home wondering what’s next instead of battling for the lightweight title.
Healy is quick to point out that losing out on a shot at the title was going to be difficult to deal with, but because it happened so close to their targeted date, it made it that much worse.
“If it would have happened a month ago, it would have been so much easier to swallow. It’s like I was already packing my bags. I was already on my way to Sacramento,” Healy told MMAWeekly Radio on Tuesday.
It took Healy five wins in a row in Strikeforce before he finally got the call to face Melendez, and after weeks upon weeks in the gym preparing, he really felt like it was going to be his night to take home the gold.
“I felt like this was my moment,” said Healy. “The shot I’ve worked so hard for and then for it to just be gone the week of the fight. It’s taxing.”
Nothing could soften the blow of the news about the card being cancelled or Melendez being injured, but Healy did receive a call from the champion, where he personally apologized and explained the situation.
Healy said it was all about respect when Melendez made that call, but he had to ask when his shoulder injury might be healed because they still have some unfinished business.
“He said five weeks. So if his rehab goes like that and he’s only out five weeks, it would probably take him another six, seven, eight weeks to get ready; I’d definitely wait for that,” said Healy. “The title shot’s a big thing. Then again, if they came to me with a fight, I’d have a hard time turning it down.”
The weight of the decision now sits squarely on Healy’s shoulders: wait for a title shot when Melendez is healthy or take a fight in the interim to stay active?
Healy wants to fight for the Strikeforce title more than anything, but he also knows that if the promotion asked him to step up and fight on the upcoming Nov. 3 fight card in Oklahoma, he would have a hard time saying no.
“I don’t really picture myself turning down a fight,” Healy stated. “Especially if it was like an interim title or something like that, while Gil was out. I don’t really like interim titles, but in my situation, if I could have some guarantees that if I fought again I’d get a guaranteed title shot that would be even more appealing.”
Strikeforce has yet to begin rescheduling any of the fighters from the cancelled Sept. 29 show onto other cards, so it’s unknown if Healy would even get the call to jump in and fight, but he’ll be standing by just in case they need him.
Listen to Tuesday’s edition of MMAWeekly Radio to hear the full interview with Pat Healy as well as an interview with Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez.