Over the past few years, Bellator MMA and Scott Coker have done a fantastic job in not only putting together Grand Prix tournaments, but finding success and plenty of attention with them as well. Currently, two of those tournaments are currently taking place with the light heavyweight grand prix final taking place in November and the bantamweight grand prix semi-finals scheduled in December.
On Wednesday, Scott Coker made an appearance on ‘The MMA Hour‘ with Ariel Helwani and revealed that there will be another grand prix coming to Bellator MMA in 2023, this time for the lightweight division. Details of the future 155-pound tournament weren’t set yet by Coker but he would say that he feels the current Bellator roster is the best roster he’s ever had.
“If you look at our roster, I think this is the best roster I’ve ever had at Bellator, and it’s taken us about four or five years to get here. We’ve got a lot of young kids I’m super high on, and we’ve got a lot of good veterans, but if you look at our 155-pound weight class, with [Tofiq] Musayev, and Usman Nurmagomedov, and [Patricky] Pitbull, and Benson Henderson who is coming off a great win over Peter Queally. I think going into next year, one of the things these guys need to consider is that probably will be our 155-pound tournament next year.” (H/T MMA Fighting)
Listing some of the fighters that are currently shaping up the lightweight division, Scott Coker would go on to suggest that there could be other fighters who would be wise to stick around and potentially capitalize on the opportunity.
“So some of the fighters might want to stick around and stay a little heavier to try and go after that prize money of $1 million bonus that we give out at the end of the tournament.”
The competitors for the lightweight grand prix have not been set just yet, but Coker would go on to reveal more names that could be in play for the tournament including former featherweight champion, A.J. McKee who also won the featherweight grand prix. McKee will make his lightweight debut at Bellator 286 this weekend.
“I think it’s going to be an amazing tournament. Brent Primus will be in the mix. We haven’t decided who the eight fighters are going to be, but if A.J. [McKee] decides he likes fighting at 155, he’ll definitely get an invitation to step up. And if he wants to go back to 145, that’s fine. But it’s going to be an amazing tournament next year.”
The focus for now is to finish up the light heavyweight and bantamweight grand prix tournaments and then Coker said the focus in early 2023 is to begin the lightweight tournament.
“We’re going to finish our light heavyweight tournament in November, the [bantamweight] finals in December. I feel like we want to set this off in February. February would be a good month and the bantamweight tournament finals sometime in March.
There will be no shortage of options to compete in the lightweight grand prix next year and it’ll give Bellator MMA yet another tournament to showcase their incredibly deep and talented roster.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
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