Roy Nelson never got the chance to compete in PRIDE Fighting Championships, but he’s made no secret that he was a massive fan of the once great mixed martial arts organization.
One of the staples of PRIDE over the years they were in business was running a series of Grand Prix tournaments that showcased the myriad of talent the organization had under its banner.
Add to that, the UFC was founded on the tournament format with the organization crowning a champion at the end of every card based on a fighter running through several opponents in one night.
Following PRIDE’s demise, then Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker decided to implement a similar format to crown a heavyweight Grand Prix champion — a tournament eventually won by Daniel Cormier that put him on the map as one of the best fighters in the sport.
Now with Coker at the helm of Bellator MMA, Nelson would love nothing more than to see another heavyweight Grand Prix take place, especially with the notable names that have joined the roster in recent months.
“The grand prix tournament takes the politics out of the game,” Nelson explained when speaking to MMAWeekly ahead of his Bellator debut on Saturday night. “Cause that’s what made the UFC. The very first UFC was a tournament. The tournament takes the politics out of it.
“That’s the one thing Scott [Coker] does, he’ll make it a pageant and he’ll bring a lot of eyeballs to the heavyweight division. Especially with the stacked heavyweight division that Bellator has, it’s going to make it a fun run.”
A heavyweight Grand Prix certainly seems like a great way for Bellator to reinvigorate the once stagnant division that hasn’t had a champion in quite some time.
Just recently, Bellator has added several high profile heavyweights to the roster including Nelson as well as former UFC champion Frank Mir.
Perhaps a heavyweight Grand Prix would be the best possible way for Bellator MMA to not only showcase the litany of fighters they’ve signed for the division over the past couple of years but to finally crown another champion in the weight class.