SCOTT COKER ANNOUNCES 16-MAN BELLATOR FEATHERWEIGHT TOURNAMENT

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Bellator president Scott Coker proceeded 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 championship will begin operating in October and will feature 16 of their top featherweights in Bellator, for example fighters in the division in addition to bantamweights moving up and potentially even lightweights moving down. The featherweight championship follows in the footsteps of the promotion’s heavyweight grand prix, which only saw Ryan Bader crowned winner, and also the welterweight championship, which is still continuing.
Coker told Helwani he needs the very first round of eight fights from the tournament to take place on a single night or about back-to-back nights at the autumn. In addition, he said he wants the tournament to complete within a calendar year, which practically mirrors the heavyweight and welterweight tournament timelines.
As far as who will be one of the 16 fighters in the tournament, so far nobody has been declared, but Coker did state that he wants Bellator featherweight champion Patricio”Pitbull” Freire for a part of the championship game. Pitbull is shooting on Michael Chandler in May for the Bellator lightweight name, so if he does take part in the championship he will still be the champion, meaning that his belt will be at stake in each round of the tournament just like Rory MacDonald’s welterweight name is on the line every time he fights.
As far as other featherweights who are predicted to be in the tournament, here are a few who appear to be near locks: Rising prospect AJ McKee; leading rival Henry Corrales; former champ Daniel Straus; former champ Pat Curran; former top prospect Aaron Pico; former title competition Emmanuel Sanchez; and former UFC fighter Sam Sicilia.
The fact there aren’t 16 featherweights means that bantamweights are also invited to move up, and Coker said that James Gallagher and Darrion Caldwell will be requested to get involved in the tournament. I would also expect Ricky Bandejas and Juan Archuleta to be requested, too. So far as lightweights proceed, there could potentially be a few fighters who may create the cut down a weight class involving Derek Campos, who simply fought featherweight in his last fight, and Ryan Scope, who only lost a close struggle against Patricky”Pitbull” Freire.
It’s exciting to see Bellator continue to hold these tournaments as the sport of MMA was build on the tournament format. The promotion’s bedrock back in the Bjorn Rebney days has been the tournaments but when Coker first came in they started to go away in exchange for superfights and legends fights. But it seems like Coker, Bellator, Paramount and DAZN love the tournaments as this is the third one the advertising will be running within the previous two decades. Now, you need to wonder what the next tournament for Bellator is, and when I had to guess that it would be something in the women’s branches. For now, however, featherweight is getting a fantastic pair of conflicts.
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Read more: snorkernews.com

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