Win or lose, Brandon Halsey will not retain the Bellator MMA middleweight championship Friday in Temecula, California, after he missed weight by more than 3 pounds during Thursday's weigh-in.
Halsey (8-0) weighed in at 188.1 pounds for his first scheduled title defense, well over the middleweight limit of 185. His opponent, title challenger Kendall Grove (21-14), made weight at 184.9 pounds.
Bellator officials confirmed to ESPN.com shortly after the weigh-in that Halsey, 28, would not attempt to cut the additional 3.1 pounds. The promotion has essentially stripped Halsey of the title as a result. Should Halsey defeat Grove in the main event of Bellator 137 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino, the Bellator title will remain vacant. Grove is still eligible to become champion with a win.
Halsey, a former collegiate wrestler, has made his past four appearances at middleweight. He won the Bellator title by submitting Alexander Shlemenko in the first round of a championship fight at Bellator 126 in September.
Grove is 2-1 since signing with Bellator in 2013. He fights out of Southern California, and 10 of his 21 career wins have come via submission.