Bellator president Scott Coker went on Ariel Helwani’s ESPN MMA Show on Monday and revealed the news that his promotion is thinking about conducting a 16-man featherweight grand prix tournament. According to Coker, the championship will begin operating in October and will feature 16 of their best featherweights in Bellator, for example fighters already in the division as well as bantamweights moving upward and possibly even lightweights moving . The featherweight championship follows at the forefront of this advertising’s heavyweight grand prix, which just saw Ryan Bader crowned champion, and the welterweight championship, which remains continuing.
Coker advised Helwani he needs the first round of eight fights in the tournament to take place on one night or on back-to-back nights at the autumn. In addition, he said he needs the tournament to conclude within a calendar year, which practically mirrors the heavyweight and welterweight tournament timelines.
As far as that will be among the 16 fighters in the championship, so far no one has been announced, however, Coker did state he desires Bellator featherweight champion Patricio»Pitbull» Freire to be a part of the tournament. Pitbull is taking on Michael Chandler in May for its Bellator lightweight title, so if he will take part in the championship he will be the champion, meaning that his belt is going to be at stake in every round of this tournament like Rory MacDonald’s welterweight name is on the line each time he fights.
So far as some other featherweights who are expected to be in the tournament, here are a few who appear to be close locks: Growing prospect AJ McKee; top rival Henry Corrales; former champ Daniel Straus; former champ Pat Curran; former high prospect Aaron Pico; former title contender Emmanuel Sanchez; and former UFC fighter Sam Sicilia.
The fact there are not 16 featherweights means that bantamweights will also be encouraged to move up, and Coker said that James Gallagher and Darrion Caldwell is going to be asked to take part in the tournament. I’d also anticipate Ricky Bandejas and Juan Archuleta to be asked, as well. As far as lightweights go, there might possibly be a couple of fighters who could create the cut down a weight class including Derek Campos, who just fought at featherweight in his final struggle, and Ryan Scope, who just lost a close struggle against Patricky»Pitbull» Freire.
It’s exciting to see Bellator continue to maintain such tournaments as the sport of MMA was build on the championship format. The advertising’s bedrock back in the Bjorn Rebney days has been the championships but when Coker first came in they began to go away in trade for superfights and legends conflicts. Nonetheless, it feels like Coker, Bellator, Paramount and DAZN love the tournaments since it is the third one the promotion will be running over the last two years. Now, you need to wonder what the next tournament for Bellator will be, and when I had to guess that it would be something in the women’s branches. For now, however, featherweight has become a fantastic pair of conflicts.
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