UFC Vet Cheick Kongo Signs with Bellator for Season 9 Heavyweight Tournament

Cheick Kongo at UFC 87Bellator officials on Wednesday announced the signing of former UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo.

He will make his promotional debut in September and fight in the upcoming Bellator Season 9 Heavyweight Tournament, although his first opponent has yet to be named.

The move comes several months after Kongo left the UFC, vigorously denying he was headed to Bellator.

Kongo (18-8-2) left the UFC following a loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen in April. It was the final fight on his contract. The French fighter had been offered a new UFC contract prior to that bout, but declined.

After some time to see how things have shaped up for his Wolfslair teammate, Rampage Jackson, Kongo eventually decided to make the move to Bellator as well.

“After my contract was up in the UFC, I really wanted to take some time and reflect on everything,” Kongo said. “After talking to the people around me, especially someone like my longtime friend in Rampage, he told me how well Bellator has been treating him and what we can do with Bellator, and after getting to know Bjorn Rebney, it just seemed like the right fit for me. I know I have plenty of fight left in me, and my (next) fight is the first step to getting that Bellator Heavyweight Title.”

Kongo holds notable victories over Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Pat Berry and Matt Mitrione during his time with the UFC.

“If you’re an MMA fan, you’re a Kongo fan,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “No matter who he fights he’s always going to bring the fight and put on a great show, and he’s one of the best guys you’ll have the pleasure of dealing with in MMA. This is another example of our alliance with Wolfslair and Anthony McGann resulting in our signing an exciting, explosive fighter to our roster who fans know and love.”

Additional details on the signing along with Bellator Season 9 Heavyweight Tournament pairings will be announced in the coming weeks.

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