At Bellator 192 in January, Bellator MMA will kick off the opening round of its eight-man heavyweight tournament promoted as the Bellator MMA World Grand Prix. The tournament will end with two fighters competing for the vacant heavyweight title. The field consists of two former UFC champions, a former Pride FC titleholder, a former Strikeforce champ, and the current Bellator MMA light heavyweight champion.
The tournament’s opening round will play out over four events. At the Jan. 20 event in Los Angeles, former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will face “The American Gangster” Chael Sonnen. On Feb. 16 in Uncasville, Conn., Roy Nelson will meet Matt Mitrione in a rematch. Former Pride FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko will take on former UFC titleholder Frank Mir in April with the opening round concluding in May with “King” Mo Lawal squaring off against current Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader.
The eight-man field has been set, but welterweight title contender Rory MacDonald would like to participate. He takes on welterweight titleholder Douglas Lima at Bellator 192 for the 170-pound championship. The first of the tournament bouts take place on the same fight card. Depending on how the title fight with Lima goes, MacDonald would be willing to step in is someone is forced out of the tournament.
“Yes. Absolutely,” said MacDonald when asked if he was going to try to be part of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix on The MMA Hour.
“I spoke with Scott Coker about it. He said they would maybe use me as an alternate if someone gets injured, and seeing how on my fight with (Douglas) Lima, obviously,” he said. “I like my chances if someone gets injured or pulls out for whatever reason.”
MacDonald explained his reasons for wanting to move up three weight classes to be part of the tournament, and they were simple. He’s intrigued to see how he’d do against much larger opponents, and likes the historic aspect of a tournament.
“I’ve always wanted to do a tournament. I think it would be interesting, kind of like old school. I know I’m going to be way undersized against these guys in the tournament, so it kind of brings back that old school UFC vibe. That’s always something that I’ve felt like would be interesting,” explained MacDonald.
“I think it would be interested. I think the fans would find it interesting just to see the new school MMA with a touch of the old school,” he added.