It took a little longer than anticipated, but former UFC light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader is now officially on the Bellator roster.
Bellator officials confirmed the news on Monday, following Bader’s announcement on The MMA Hour.
The move doesn’t come as a surprise.
UFC president Dana White all but confirmed Bader would end up with Bellator when he said in early February, “We had told Ryan Bader he was good to go. We knew he was going to go to Bellator the entire time. I think Bellator is a good place for Ryan Bader. At this point in his career, I think it’s the right move for him.”
Having been entrenched in the Top 5 of the UFC 205-pound division, it was a bit surprising that the promotion so easily let Bader go.
He joins a division that is topped by another UFC veteran. Phil Davis was also a top contender while fighting for the UFC, but signed with Bellator and quickly became the promotions light heavyweight champion. The division has become one of Bellator’s deepest, featuring the likes of David, Bader, Liam McGeary, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, and Linton Vassell.
In a short video that Bader posted to Twitter following the announcement of his signing, he immediately took aim at Davis and the belt. Bader and Davis fought once under the UFC banner, where Bader won a split decision.
— Ryan Bader (@ryanbader) March 20, 2017