David "Tank" Abbott will step back into the cage on Friday after all.
Abbott will face Mike Bourke in a heavyweight co-main attraction for Wargods “Valentine’s Eve Massacre” at the Selland Arena in Fresno, Calif., confirmed a State Athletic Commission rep late Friday afternoon.
Abbott (9-14) and Bourke (8-11-1) both reported to the venue at 4:00 p.m. PST and were weighed-in as part of a last-minute reprieve to get the bout approved in time for the event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. PST.
Abbott weighed in at 265 pounds, while Bourke was 293 pounds. (California statutes do not recognize the super heavyweight division.)
Both fighters had attended the event’s official weigh-ins on Thursday, only to be turned away by CSAC officials who said the promotion had cancelled the bout themselves almost a week before.
But a Wargods executive said they had reinstated the bout on Tuesday after the promotion had come to “an agreement” with Abbott over the weekend. The promotion rep said Wargods emailed the commission of the addition earlier this week, but believe the email was not received by the right person.
The executive also told Sherdog.com that both fighters’ paperwork, including their medical testing, had been completed a month ago and the bout had been approved before it was temporarily pulled from the roster.
“When Tank Abbott’s fight was dropped, we just moved on with the card,” CSAC Executive Director Bill Douglas told Sherdog.com late Thursday. “We have no medicals on file for him at all.”
At the venue, Commission official J.D. Foreman told Sherdog.com that the bout had been approved on Friday morning, after Abbott and the promotion had provided the appropriate medical paperwork. Foreman said the paperwork had originally been pulled from the file when the state agency had been told the fight was off last week.
Abbott last saw action one year ago at EliteXC “Street Certified” against Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson, where the bearded icons duked it out it for 43 seconds. Ferguson knocked out Abbott with a searing right straight.
An early legend of the UFC, Abbott, 43, has dropped seven of his last eight bouts since returning to the cage in 2003.
Bourke fought Chance Williams to a “no contest” at KOTC “Opposing Force” in May 2008. Bourke has had one victory in his last ten appearances since 2006.
In the main event, Ken Shamrock (26-13-2), who turned 45 on Thursday, takes on Ross Clifton (6-8) in a heavyweight tilt. EliteXC veteran Tonya Evinger will not appear on the card, confirmed CSAC officials on Friday. Ten bouts have been approved for the event.
“Massacre” will be streamed live on Sherdog.com beginning at 6:30 p.m. PST.
Joseph Zigler contributed to this report.