SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Bellator light heavyweight grand prix will need to turn to the alternate pool. The tournament has ended for Anthony Johnson.

Johnson, a former UFC title challenger, has withdrawn from his upcoming Bellator 268 headliner against champion Vadim Nemkov – and the tournament as a whole – due to illness, multiple people with knowledge of the situation told MMA Junkie. The people asked to remain anonymous since the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.

Nemkov (14-2 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) is expected to remain on the card against an opponent to be announced at a later time.

Yoel Romero, who headlines Saturday night’s Bellator 266 against Phil Davis, was slated to compete in the opening round of the tournament against Johnson (23-6 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) but was removed after he did not receive medical clearance for an eye issue. Davis already lost a unanimous decision to Nemkov in the quarterfinals.

A second semifinal bout between Arizona’s own Ryan Bader and fellow former UFC contender Corey Anderson is also slated for the event.

Bellator 268 takes place Oct. 16 at Footprint Center in Phoenix. The main card airs on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.

With the change, the Bellator 268 lineup includes:

MAIN CARD (Showtime, 10 p.m ET)

  • Vadim Nemkov vs. TBA – for light heavyweight title, grand prix semifinal
  • Ryan Bader vs. Corey Anderson – light heavyweight grand prix semifinal
  • Benson Henderson vs. Brent Primus
  • Henry Corrales vs. Vladyslav Parubchenko


  • Julius Anglickas vs. Karl Albrektsson
  • Erik Perez vs. Brett Johns
  • Sullivan Cauley vs. Deon Clash
  • Nick Browne vs. Bobby Lee
  • Javier Torres vs. Gregory Milliard
  • Sumiko Inaba vs. Randi Field
  • Lance Gibson Jr. vs. Raymond Pina