Earlier tonight, former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis announced that he would be testing free agency after completing his UFC contract with a victory over Alex Morono this past Saturday in Las Vegas.
Although he has over 30 professional bouts under his belt, Pettis is only 33 years old, and given his accomplishments, his name value, and his fan-friendly fighting style, it’s expected that other promotions will be interested in acquiring his services.
In fact, the process seems to have already begun, as Bellator president Scott Coker said that he will “definitely” have a conversation with “Showtime”, although he also made it clear that there are certain factors to consider when evaluating free agents.
“I’m sure my guys are already talking to their camps, and we’ll have a conversation,” Coker told MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “Level (of interest) is sometimes based on the business deal because there has to be a certain value there based on the price, and really that’s what it comes down to: Is the value worth what we think of the fights we can put together for him?
“Really it’s like, how much does he have left in the gas tank? But we’ll definitely have that conversation, and we usually have that conversation with every free agent, whether we sign them or not. We’ll probably do the same thing with Pettis if we haven’t already done it.”
Following Pettis’ announcement, many quickly began to speculate that he would be heading to Bellator given that his younger brother Sergio previously signed with the promotion after fighting out his contract with the UFC.
Aside from that, the move simply makes sense given the potential fights that Bellator could book Pettis in at both lightweight and welterweight. Lightweight fights against either of the “Pitbull” brothers, for example, could be intriguing, as could fights at 170 pounds against fighters like Douglas Lima or Michael “Venom” Page.
A fight between Pettis and “MVP” is one possible fight that specifically stands out to Coker.
“(Pettis vs. ‘MVP’) would be a lot of fun,” Coker said. “That would be amazing. We’ll see. There’s only so many slots on TV for us. We’ll be having 22 to 26 fights (in 2021), and it’ll all be mapped out sometime in the next three weeks and we’ll figure it out. We’ll have a conversation and see where it goes.”
Regardless of where Anthony Pettis ends up, it’s already beginning to look as if he’ll have options to choose from.
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.