Bellator fighter wanted by police, pulled from Friday fight card at The Venue

2012-03-08T20:15:00Z 2012-03-09T12:35:07Z Bellator fighter wanted by police, pulled from Friday fight card at The VenueBy Lindsay Machak lindsay.machak@nwi.com, (219) 933-3246 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Local MMA fighter Eric Oria didn't show up for a weigh-in Thursday, but Indiana State Police did, officials said.

Oria, 24, of East Chicago, was scheduled to weigh in before what would have been his professional debut in the highly publicized Bellator Fighting Championships fight card that was scheduled for Friday night at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino.

He was pulled from the card later Thursday, fight officials said.

Indiana State Police have been looking for Oria for several days and had planned on taking him into custody Thursday at the pre-fight procedures, ISP spokeswoman Ann Wojas said.

He is being sought for a failure to appear warrant from 2011 on a charge of criminal recklessness as a Class D felony, court records indicate. The warrant is linked to a 2007 case, for which the details couldn't be obtained Thursday night.

Bellator CEO and founder Bjorn Rebney, speaking Thursday to The Times just prior to the promotion's official weigh-in event at Horseshoe Casino, only would confirm that Oria no longer was a part of the Friday card.

"Officially, (Bellator matchmaker) Sam (Caplan) called me about four hours ago and said his manager said he's got physical issues and wasn't going to be able to make the fight," Rebney said.

State police launched the hunt for Oria as the result of a traffic investigation when a trooper ran a license plate that brought up Oria's warrant earlier in the week, Wojas said.

The warrant he is being sought for was issued on Oct. 13, 2011, when he didn't show up at a scheduled court hearing, Lake County court records indicate.

Oria had told The Times on Tuesday he was looking forward to the fight.

"This is definitely on the list of highlights of my life," Oria had said.

Times correspondent Matt Erickson contributed to this report.

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