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Heavyweight veteran Roy Nelson signs with Bellator MMA

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“Big Country” is leaving the UFC to head to Bellator.

Roy Nelson is no longer a UFC fighter.

“Big Country,” a longtime heavyweight, has signed with Bellator MMA, reported Friday. The Viacom-owned organization inked an exclusive, multi-fight deal with Nelson.

Nelson confirmed the signing in a social media post also on Friday.

Nelson completed his contract with the UFC in April in a decision loss to Alexander Volkov. He is expected to debut under the Bellator banner this autumn, though nothing is official.

Nelson (22-14) made his UFC debut in 2009 after being crowned The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner. He holds notable victories over the likes of Antonio Silva, Stefan Struve, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Matt Mitrione, among others. The fan favorite fought inside the Octagon 19 times and racked up a 9-10 record, and had alternated losses and wins in his last five fights.

Nelson joins fighters including Mitrione, Bobby Lashley, Cheick Kongo, and Fedor Emelianenko in the Bellator heavyweight division.

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