Bellator 154 "Davis vs. King Mo" took place last night (Sat., May 14, 2016) at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. An action-packed main card featured three first round finishes and a highly competitive No. 1 contender's fight between "Mr. Wonderful" Phil Davis and Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal.
Bellator took the opportunity during the TV broadcast to make some announcements about the company's future, but dropped a bombshell about Vitaly Minakov in the most low key way possible: an offhand remark by the commentators that the lightweight and heavyweight titles were now vacant.
For Minakov, this could not have come as a surprise given he hadn't defended his title since April 2014 and seemed reluctant to return to do so, even as he took non-Bellator fights streamed live from Dagestan via UFC Fight Pass.
For "Ill" Will Brooks, however, he's been a dominant and defending Bellator champion. He's also at times been outspoken about deserving more respect and certainly unapologetic about not being quiet or soft spoken.
"It was very simple," Bellator President Scott Coker told MMA Junkie. "Will Brooks' contract is ending, and we made a decision not to renew it. We're going to give him a full release, so we're not going to be in the Will Brooks business any longer."
While the future of the heavyweight title remains to be determined, Bellator wasted little time booking a match for "Dynamite 2" on June 24, 2016 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., to crown a champion: a rematch between Michael Chandler and Patricky "Pitbull" Freire.
Chandler won their first meeting at Bellator 44, and spoke to Jimmy Smith during the Spike TV broadcast about the chance to face Freire again.
"It brings me back to that run I made for the Lightweight title," he said. "I had to go through him to get that fight with Eddie Alvarez. He's had some spectacular knockouts since then. He's an exciting guy so I'm excited to get in the cage and compete with him."
Minakov remains under contract (for now) while Brooks can immediately test the waters of free agency.
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