Bellator MMA is in the middle of its welterweight tournament, and just recently saw Ryan Bader become the promotion’s first-ever “champ-champ” by winning the heavyweight Grand Prix after knocking out Fedor Emelianenko in record time (see it).
But the Paramount-owned promotion isn’t pumping the breaks on its tournaments, as Bellator president Scott Coker took to Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show to reveal plans to stage a featherweight Grand Prix later this year.
“Our next tournament that we are going to offer is in the featherweight division. We are going to start that in the fall. If you think about all the studs we have in that weight class it just needs to be done,” said Coker.
As far as details, Scott did drop a few nuggets by saying it will include a whopping 16 combatants, and not the regular eight that the previous two tournaments had. To keep it interesting, the first round could take place in one night.
“I think this will be a 16-man tournament. We are going to reach out, start it off with 16 athletes, then 8, down to four, two and then one. That’s the scoop of the day. It will last one year,” he added.
“The 16 athletes will all fight in one night. So we will have eight fights in one night. Or maybe we will break it up to back-to-back nights like we’ve been doing. I want to get those fighters fought and not have a big breaks in between otherwise it won’t be fair because you have to fight the second round soon.”
Also, Scott says he will invite current 145-pound champion, Patricio Freire, to compete in the tournament similar to the way Rory MacDonald is defending his strap in each round of the 170-pound Grand Prix.
Plus, Coker revealed he will likely include a big cash payout to the victor, who will also be getting paid handsomely throughout the tournament making it a “multi-million dollar” tournament.
As far as bringing in other talent from other organizations taking part, Coker didn’t seem too interested, saying the 145-pound talent he has now is good enough to fill out the entire bracket.