Bellator president Scott Coker went on Ariel Helwani’s ESPN MMA Show on Monday and disclosed the news that his marketing is thinking about running a 16-man featherweight grand prix tournament. According to Coker, the tournament will begin running in October and will feature 16 of the top featherweights in Bellator, including fighters already in the division in addition to bantamweights moving upward and possibly even lightweights moving down. The featherweight championship follows at the forefront of this advertising’s heavyweight grand prix, which just watched Ryan Bader crowned champion, and the welterweight championship, which is still continuing.
Coker told Helwani he wants the very first round of eight fights in the tournament to take place on one night or about back-to-back nights at the fall. He also said he wants the championship to conclude within a year, which nearly mirrors the heavyweight and welterweight tournament timelines.
As far as that will be one of the 16 fighters in the tournament, so far no one has been declared, however, Coker did say he wants Bellator featherweight champion Patricio”Pitbull” Freire to be a part of the championship game. Pitbull is shooting on Michael Chandler in May for the Bellator lightweight name, so if he will take part in the tournament he’ll be the champion, meaning that his belt is going to be on the line 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 predicted to maintain the championship, here are some who seem to be near locks: Growing prospect AJ McKee; top rival Henry Corrales; former champ Daniel Straus; former champ Pat Curran; former top prospect Aaron Pico; former name contender Emmanuel Sanchez; and former UFC fighter Sam Sicilia.
The fact there are not 16 featherweights ways that bantamweights will also be invited to move up, and Coker said that James Gallagher and Darrion Caldwell is going to be requested to get involved in the tournament. I’d also anticipate Ricky Bandejas and Juan Archuleta to be asked, too. As far as lightweights go, there might possibly be a few fighters who could create the cut down a weight class involving Derek Campos, who just fought featherweight in his last fight, and Ryan Scope, who only lost a close fight against Patricky”Pitbull” Freire.
It is fascinating to see Bellator continue to hold these tournaments as the game of MMA was build on the tournament format. The promotion’s bedrock back at the Bjorn Rebney days was the championships but when Coker first came in they began to go away in trade for superfights and legends conflicts. Nonetheless, it seems like Coker, Bellator, Paramount and DAZN adore the tournaments as this is the third one the promotion will be running within the previous two decades. Now, you have to wonder what another tournament for Bellator is, and when I had to guess that it would be something in the women’s branches. For now, though, featherweight is getting a fantastic set of conflicts.
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