Leah McCourt ‘devastated’ to pull out of Bellator 302 fight against Sinead Kavanagh

The upcoming Bellator 302 card in Belfast needs a new co-main event after Leah McCourt was forced to pull out of her fight with Sinead Kavanagh.

With McCourt out of the March 22 event, the fight with Kavanagh has been pulled from the card, multiple people with knowledge of the shift told MMA Fighting on Tuesday following an initial report from Severe MMA.

Following news that the fight had been cancelled, McCourt issued a lengthy statement addressing the injury that will prevent her from competing in March.

“Devastated to have to write this and let you know during a sparring accident, I sustained a broken rib and torn oblique,” McCourt wrote on Twitter. “I cannot get medically cleared to fight nor could I physically be able to fight in Belfast. This may require surgery and will know more in the next few weeks. The muscle has been ripped from the bone and the pain is excruciating. When I didn’t get the title fight, I asked what fight wanted, it was this so especially disappointed.

“I don’t understand the heartbreak and pain of circumstances of everything that’s happened so far this year, but I trust God’s plan that all these things are part of something big and better ahead. I have fought with torn ligaments, blown out knees, everything, and this is the first time an injury has been too serious to be able to fight, as I [was] warned the break could puncture an organ if I don’t do as [the] surgeon has requested and have total rest. I will do everything I can to return as soon as possible.”

Read McCourt’s full statement below:

It’s an unfortunate blow to the first Bellator card under the PFL banner since the promotion was sold in late 2023. It’s even worse for McCourt, who was promised a title shot against Bellator featherweight champion Cris Cyborg before the sale was finalized. Cyborg has been rumored for an eventual showdown with PFL featherweight champion Larissa Pacheco, but there’s no word when that matchup might actually happen.

The PFL will not feature a women’s featherweight division in the season-long tournament format in 2024, so more of those fighters will likely appear in Bellator throughout the year.

That leaves McCourt in limbo as she recovers from her injury with no clear sign when she might compete again – or what it will take to eventually earn a title shot.

Bellator officials have not made any announcement regarding the change to the upcoming card in Belfast, or if Kavanagh could potentially face a new opponent with McCourt sidelined.

Bellator 302 is headlined by a light heavyweight title fight as Corey Anderson clashes with Karl Moore. The title fight crowns a new champion at 205 pounds after Vadim Nemkov vacated the belt to move to heavyweight.

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