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Bellator to Crown Heavyweight Champion with Grand Prix Tournament in 2018

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Bellator president Scott Coker loves a good Grand Prix tournament and that’s exactly what he has planned to crown a new heavyweight champion in 2018.

Plans were revealed on Friday for an eight-man tournament that will run throughout next year with the winner being crowned the new Bellator heavyweight champion. Coker initially revealed the news to MMAJunkie.

While Coker didn’t reveal a launch date for the tournament, sources have told MMAWeekly that at least one of the fights from the Granx Prix is expected to take place on the upcoming Jan. 20 card featuring a main event between welterweight champion Douglas Lima and former UFC title contender Rory MacDonald.

The launch of the Bellator Grand Prix Tournament will coincide with the promotion’s television home being rebranded from Spike TV to the Paramount Network in early 2018. 

The tournament will not only feature several high profile heavyweight competitors but numerous light heavyweights moving up a division to vie for the championship including Bellator 205-pound king Ryan Bader.Ryan Bader

The eight fighters involved in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix includes:

Fedor Emelianenko

Frank Mir

Matt Mitrione

Roy Nelson

Ryan Bader

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

Chael Sonnen

Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal

The plan is for the Bellator Grand Prix tournament to play out over the course of 2018 with the champion being crowned in a year-end show in December.

Of course Coker also famously put together the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix several years ago that ended with Daniel Cormier pulling off an improbable run through the tournament after initially being selected as an alternate.

The tournament pairings are expected to be announced any day now with the fights expected to kick off on Jan. 20.

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