Saturday, November 16, 2019
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SCOTT COKER ANNOUNCES 16-MAN BELLATOR FEATHERWEIGHT TOURNAMENT

Bellator president Scott Coker proceeded on Ariel Helwani’s ESPN MMA Show on Monday and revealed that his promotion is thinking about conducting a 16-man featherweight grand prix tournament. According to Coker, the tournament will start running in October and will feature 16 of the best featherweights in Bellator, for example fighters in the division as well as bantamweights moving upward and potentially even lightweights moving down. The featherweight tournament follows at the forefront of the advertising’s heavyweight grand prix, which only watched Ryan Bader crowned winner, and the welterweight championship, which remains ongoing.
Coker advised Helwani he needs the first round of eight fights from the championship to take place on a single night or about back-to-back nights at the fall. He also said he needs the tournament to complete within a calendar year, which nearly mirrors the heavyweight and welterweight championship timelines.
As far as that will be one of the 16 fighters in the championship, so far nobody has been announced, but Coker did say that 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 does take part in the tournament he will still be the winner, meaning his belt is going to be at stake in each round of the tournament just like Rory MacDonald’s welterweight name is online each time he fights.
So far as some other featherweights who are predicted to be in the tournament, here are some who appear to be close locks: Growing prospect AJ McKee; leading rival Henry Corrales; former champ Daniel Straus; former champ Pat Curran; former high 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 already said that James Gallagher and Darrion Caldwell will be asked to take part in the tournament. I would also anticipate Ricky Bandejas and Juan Archuleta to be requested, too. So far as lightweights proceed, there could possibly be a couple of fighters who may create the cut down a weight class including Derek Campos, who simply fought at featherweight in his last fight, and Ryan Scope, who just lost a close struggle against Patricky”Pitbull” Freire.
It is fascinating to see Bellator continue to maintain these tournaments as the sport of MMA was build on the championship format. The promotion’s bedrock back at the Bjorn Rebney days has been the championships but when Coker first came in they began to go out in exchange for superfights and legends conflicts. But it feels like Coker, Bellator, Paramount and DAZN adore the tournaments since this is the next one the advertising will be running over the previous couple of decades. At this point, you need to wonder what another tournament for Bellator will be, and if I had to guess it could be something in the women’s divisions. For the time being, however, featherweight is getting a fantastic set of conflicts.
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