Bellator is going to the Grand Prix format in 2018 with a lot of well-known fighters.
If you’re an old school fan of MMA, you know that companies like Pride FC became very popular on the back of tournaments. You might know them by a fancier term – a good ol’ Grand Prix. Bellator CEO Scott Coker liked them so much that he ran a Heavyweight GP in Strikeforce, and while it was a bit clunky, it delivered a lot of big fights and created a new star in the process – Daniel Cormier.
Now, Coker will look to re-create the same magic in Bellator. Today, the promotion announced an eight-man Heavyweight Grand Prix to determine a new HW champion, and all eight men are guys you are likely very familiar with:
Bellator was certainly telling the truth when they said that weight classes aren’t going to be as important in the promotion, considering half of the HW tourney is made up of guys that usually fight at 205 pounds.
Obviously Fedor is the biggest name in the group. He is coming off a loss though, to Mitrione at Bellator NYC in June. Mir was recently signed by Bellator after almost 16 years in the UFC, but isn’t eligible to fight until April due to a USADA suspension he will honor. Nelson won his first fight in Bellator a couple of months ago.
Rampage just re-signed with the promotion, most recently dropping a decision to Lawal in March. Bader is Bellator’s current light heavyweight champion, and defended it by stopping Linton Vassell last weekend. Sonnen is coming off a win over Wanderlei Silva.
According to the promotion, they will likely kick off the GP at their January 20th event, and hope to decide a champion by the end of 2018.