For just a moment, Corey Anderson had finally realized his first world title. Or so he thought…
‘Overtime’ was apparently the Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion after stopping Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 277. However, within minutes, that would quickly become undone. The title would slip away from Anderson as referee Frank Trigg dived more into the situation.
The referee would wave off the fight as the champ Nemkov suffered a massive cut on his face. With eyes on the instant replay, the cut would be caused by an accidental headbutt, not an elbow. Anderson would even point this out mid-fight. Due to the nature of the fight-ending cut, the belt and $1M paycheck would NOT be going to Anderson.
On top of the disappointing no contest result, Anderson was also a few seconds away from the fight going to a technical decision in which he would’ve likely won.
Anderson detailed how it felt directly after the fight, believing he had finally won gold.
“It was very emotional,” Anderson told ESPN. “They came in and told me like ‘you win on the judges scorecards, so there shouldn’t be any reason you shouldn’t [win]’. Then the check comes in with [my] name on it. They tell my family they gonna bring them in so we can celebrate.
“I jump on the cage, I get excited,”My mom is crying. My family in the crowd is jumping up and down. All of a sudden, I jump down from the cage and you see the [$1 million] check walking down the stairs. All of a sudden, the ref comes back and tells me there’s [three] seconds left and you have to go all the way to the end of the third round to be declared the winner.
“It was a lot…” Anderson added.
What a wild turn of events. From being told that you’re a millionaire and new champion to… ‘yeah, that’s not happening’ was an emotional ‘roller coaster’ to say the least for Corey Anderson.
“It was a roller coaster— you go up and you come down fast,” Anderson said. “The biggest thing for me is keep my composure and not lose my sportsmanship mentality.”
Anderson Was A Good Sport
Additionally, Anderson explained that he would’ve been the real champion had he not be a good sport. This was in reference to him telling the referee about the accidental clash of heads during the fight.
“I know he would have kept it going,” Anderson said of referee Frank Trigg. “But the sportsman in me was like, ‘Let him know that wasn’t from me — I didn’t hit him, I accidentally head-butted him.’ … That was just me being a good person.”
The Motivation, Moving Forward
Following the fight, there was two pictures that stuck with Corey Anderson. One was from a pre-fight photoshoot of him posing with the belt. The other was a deleted Tweet of Bellator posting that Anderson was the new champion and Grand Prix winner. The photos have motivated stayed on the mind of ‘Overtime’ as he prepares for… well, you can call it overtime.
“I got those two things locked on my phone,” Anderson said. “I’m just looking at them every day. The motivation is like: That’s what it should have been. I need that. I’ve already seen it, I’ve already tasted it, I’ve already felt it. I had that excitement from being the champ. Now, I have to really feel it. I know how it feels to believe you’re the champ. Now, I have to go out there and actually be the champ. I need that feeling.”
Anderson will take some time off before prepping for a rematch with still-champ Vadim Nemkov.