Color me excited. Bellator MMA President Scott Coker announced a heavyweight grand prix tournament to crown a a new champion in 2018.
Coker told us last weekend at the Bellator 186 fight card at Penn State that it would be about a week before an announcement was made. Well, here we are a week later, and the news cracked via MMAjunkie and USA TODAY Sports.
Yesterday it was announced that Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson had signed back to Bellator MMA. Many questioned why after the former UFC light heavyweight champion had issues with the promotion. Today Jackson was named as one of the tournaments entrants.
Also, MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko who was defeated by Matt Mitrione in June at Bellator NYC will enter the tournament. Could we see a rematch? Possibly, because Mitrione is also a part of the lineup.
Ryan Bader told us last week at the same press conference that he was interested in moving up to heavyweight. Well, that too now holds true. Bader is a name that has entered into the lineup.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal, and Chael Sonnen, also throw their names into the hat.
The tournament bouts will be contested throughout 2018, with the current plan calling for one tournament fight per night at seven yet-to-be-decided Bellator events. The final is tentatively scheduled for December 2018.
The tournament draw will be determined in the near future.
“I think there are certain fights that people want to see,” Coker said. “Believe me, we’re going to have some amazing matchups in this tournament.
The tournament will air on the new home of Bellator MMA, Paramount TV which launches in January 2018.