By Ray Hamill — After suffering a split decision loss in a fight he failed to make weight for, Cass Bell says he will come back stronger than ever.
In fact, if anything, he says the occasion has made him even more determined.
“That fight lit the fire in me more,” he said.
The Humboldt County native, who fights out of the Institute of Combat in Arcata, lost to experienced Canadian Josh Hill in a showdown that most observers felt could have gone either way at Bellator 292 in San Jose on Friday.
And after returning to the North Coast, the 35-year-old Bell emphasized he’s not done yet and says he’s living his dream.
“I’m happy with everything I’m doing,” said Bell, who also coaches youth and high school wrestling in Arcata. “I’m living my dream. I get to coach and I get to fight. I’m super grateful for the opportunities I get. I’m really happy with my life right now.”
Bell, who plans to fight twice more this year, said he’s hoping for a rematch with Hill and believes he deserves one.
A busy pre-fight schedule caused Bell to miss weight for what was scheduled as a 135-pound showdown, but Hill accepted the fight at 145 and received 20 percent of Bell’s earnings.
The Arcata-based fighter said he would have come out more aggressive in the third and final round had he known he needed to.
“I really thought I was winning. My coaches thought I was winning,” he said. “So I played it safe. If I knew I was losing, I would have done more. I was just being cautious and it bit me in the butt.”
Hill took the split decision with two of the three judges scoring the fight 29-28 in his favor, while the commentators believed the Humboldt fighter had shaded it.
And they weren’t the only ones.
“I believe I won that fight,” Bell said. “Hopefully he’ll give me a rematch and I can redeem myself.”
The loss dropped Bell to 6-3 as a pro, while the experienced Hill improved to 22-5.