Did Neil Grove Get Raw Deal From Bellator?

Life isn’t fair. You work and work and achieve a certain level of success and the next thing you know, the company’s put you out to pasture and brought in some young guy to take your place. Maybe they promised some things during the company holiday party, maybe they were just throwing around some ideas over cocktails… Either way, things tend not to shake out your way sometimes.

If Neil Grove were to feel that way about Bellator, it would be understandable. After winning through last year’s Heavyweight Tournament, only to lose to Cole Konrad in the finals, Neil apparently had enough. He was 40, and had a decent career in MMA, fighting professionally since 2006, with a record of 11-4-1. Had a taste of the UFC at UFC 95, in which he lost to Mike Ciesnolevicz.

His Bellator run began in August, 2010. He beat Eddie Sanchez (TKO, punches) in the first round of the Tournament. During the pre-fight package and in interviews, Grove showed his personality and proved to be funny, knowledgeable and likeable.

So much so that when Bellator was about to begin their season, it was widely rumored that Grove would replace current commentator (and fellow bald dude) Jimmy Smith alongside Michael C. Williams. Grove would retire from the cage.

When it was decided Smith would return, Grove entered the current Heavyweight Tournament. Although he lost in the first bout to Mike Hayes, it was a split decision in which Grove busted Hayes’ orbital, forcing him out of the Tournament.

With no major damage and a close enough fight, the natural assumption would be that Grove would continue in the tournament. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Bellator held an “alternate qualifying bout” and a young Heavyweight from Brazil named Thiago Santos got into the Tournament in Hayes’ spot after Santos beat Josh Burns.

So with the commentating gig he was expecting getting pulled out from under him and his Heavyweight Tournament berth also stifled, it raises questions about the relationship Bellator has with Grove.

He might make a good replacement for Frank Trigg on HD-Net…