All Past Bellator Tournament Winners Now Eligible for Title Fights Without Entering New Tournament

June 12, 2014
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Bellator MMA LogoWith Bellator’s 2014 Summer Series having just begun last Friday, Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney announced today that the promotion has made an addition to its real sport, tournament-based format that allows former Bellator Tournament winners the potential to be granted a World Title fight without going back into The Toughest Tournament in Sports.

“Just like we’ve done since day one, any fighter who wins The Toughest Tournament in Sports will still be guaranteed a World Title fight,” Rebney said. “The addition I’m making here, that I’m really excited about, is if you’ve won a tournament, you’ll join an elite group of athletes who we can grant a world title fight to at any time.”

“For example, if you win a tournament, fight for the World Title and lose, you forever remain in that elite group of fighters who can be awarded another shot at the title. We will place some fighters back into tournaments, while others may lose a world title fight, win some non-tournament fights and be awarded another shot at the title. We won’t be implementing any hard and fast rule as to when a fighter will go back into a tournament and when he’ll fight non-tournament fights and potentially be granted another title shot. What’s great about this addition is that it allows us to stay true to our core format, where title shots can only be earned through a tournament win, while also providing us tremendous flexibility to make the great fights fans want to see. And, we can do all this while keeping our fighters busy and battling in meaningful fights on a re-occurring basis. This is another step in our constant evolution and most importantly it’s a win for the fighters and the fans.”

“When I heard about this change, I instantly fell in love with it,” Bellator Interim Lightweight Champion Will Brooks said. “This is a way to keep guys active after they have proven themselves in a tournament. You always want to stay in the mix as a fighter, and it’s really exciting to me that Bellator is taking the fighters and fans opinions to heart and making decisions to put on the best fights possible. It’s refreshing to see and be a part of, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

“At the end of the day, everyone wants to see guys they know stay busy and active,” Bellator Welterweight Champion Douglas Lima said. “As fighters we want to stay busy and keep fighting, and this new change helps keep the talent pool fresh and creates new challengers for us. I know the tournament isn’t going anywhere, it’s how we all came up and got our titles, but now we have a chance to keep staying busy and keep defending our titles.”

The current pool of fighters eligible to be chosen to fight for the world title includes:

Bantamweight: Eduardo Dantas*, Joe Warren*, Marcos Galvao, Rafael Silva

Featherweight: Pat Curran*, Patricio Pitbull, Daniel Straus, Shahbulat Shamhalaev, “Frodo” Khasbulaev, Daniel Weichel, Joe Warren

Lightweight: Eddie Alvarez*, Will Brooks*, Michael Chandler, Pat Curran, Rick Hawn, Dave Jansen, David Rickels

Welterweight: Douglas Lima*, Karl Amoussou, Andrey Koreshkov, Rick Hawn

Middleweight: Alexander Shlemenko*, Brennan Ward, Doug Marshall

Light Heavyweight: Emanuel Newton*, Rampage Jackson, King Mo, Christian M’Pumbu, Atilla Vegh

Heavyweight: Vitaly Minakov*, Alexander Volkov, Cheick Kongo

* Denotes Current Bellator Champion or Interim Champion

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  • Rick Ricky

    Toughest tournament in sports….hhahahahahah

    • Bruce

      what have you done keyboard warrior rick ricky? It is tough when you think about it.. it doesn’t matter what caliber of fighters they are. They are still fighting.. something i’m not doing and most of the people who laugh at them on this site don’t . It something we people can’t accomplish doing.. that competing in real life.. so you know what it is tough.

      • Ryan thompson

        Reread your post and tell me you’re not a idiot.

      • Ryan thompson

        Yes the caliber of fighters is everything!

      • Seth

        We, as fans, are allowed to judge fighters, because our opinion on them makes UFC, Viacom, WSOF etc money.

        Big caliber fighters, that are good and people like them will make card profitable. If you put 20 guys that people think suck and they are not even good – who will buy that stuff and pay for it?

        So yeah, caliber of the fighters is pretty damn important.

  • Timothy Malone

    Bellator can’t honestly expect us to believe the quality of their fighters is as high as UFC (actually WSOF is starting to sign better guys than them too) so what makes them stand apart from the top organization is the tournament structure. It’s the only novelty that makes them more than just B-league MMA. The more they move away from it the more uninterested I am, and they have been moving away faster and faster.

    It was great to see top guys lose a title and have to slog through a tournament like everyone else. It allowed other more unknown guys to cause real upsets. Would Newton have gotten fights with King Mo without the requirements of a tournament? Now Bellator is real top heavy, with a few name guys that will apparently keep fighting each other over and over for the belts while the tournaments are filled with lesser guys that are forgotten after they win and sit in line.

  • factscheckplz

    Im not buying any of the bs that bjorn is saying. Hes just changing the rules again so he can keep putting his guys into championship fights. How many times are we gonna keep seeing guys like chandler and curran keep fighting for the title even after they lose they still get automatic rematches until they win the title back. Its not fair to alot of the other contenders that have to keep waiting in line. Bellator doesnt care about thejr fighters they just care about picking the champion that they want.

  • omar

    Boo on Bellator. You had something unique. It’s a shame you scrapped it.

    • Seth

      They had to. They have now like 4 no 1 contenders waiting for title shots (Pitbull, Straus, Frodo and the latest 145 tournament winner), so that’s their way to make sure that no one will say “ow, and now they have to fight for their title shots again?” No. They can crush a can or two meanwhile. They f’d themselves up badly.

  • TheCerealKiller

    “you forever remain in that elite group of fighters”, LOL! Elite….