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Bellator MMA announces official fighter rankings

MMA fighters Emelianenko and Jackson weigh in ahead of Bellator 237 main event in Japan Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

Bellator MMA today announced an official fighter rankings system for each of its weight classes, in addition to a pound-for-pound list for both men’s and women’s divisions. Similar to UFC rankings, the positions will be determined by a 15-person voting panel comprised of members of the MMA media.

To ensure transparency, the voting process will be audited by Combat Registry.

“This is the greatest roster in the history of Bellator,” said Bellator MMA President Scott Coker. “As we continue to sign the top free agents in the sport and see the success of young prospects inside the Bellator cage, we felt that the time was right to introduce official fighter rankings. We are always looking at ways to improve our product and this adds a new and exciting aspect to the organization that will have a significant impact on how fans watch Bellator. Every division is competitive, every matchup is important, and we are set for several potential blockbusters as we begin a new year on Showtime.”

Fighter eligibility, as well as additional voting criteria, listed below:

Divisional Rankings:

Top 10 fighter rankings will be voted on in nine Bellator MMA weight classes, in addition to two pound-for-pound lists.

Champions of each division will be automatically assigned to the Champions slot atop the rankings.

Fighters in seven men’s divisions will be ranked, including:

Light Heavyweight

Fighters in two women’s divisions will be ranked, including:


Two pound-for-pound lists will be voted on, including:


New Fighter Eligibility:

A fighter must have competed once inside the Bellator cage on a current term with the company to be eligible.


A fighter is eligible to be ranked for up to 15-months without competing.


A fighter remains eligible for 60 days after an indication of retirement, with the organization ultimately determining if the fighter remains active and eligible.

Multiple Weight Classes:

A fighter is allowed to be actively ranked in two different weight classes and is eligible to be ranked in an additional weight class once they have competed at least once in that division.

A fighter must actively compete in each weight class – a period of inactivity longer than 15 months in a given weight class will result in the removal from that specific weight class, but not necessarily from another division or the overall rankings pool.

With the exception being that a fighter is actively participating in a World Grand Prix tournament in a different weight class.


A fighter serving a non-medical suspension from an overseeing regulatory body and/or the organization for longer than six months will be removed from rankings eligibility. A fighter will remain eligible with a suspension of six months or fewer.

Fighter Rankings Pool:

The final list of eligible fighters, and the weight classes in which they are eligible to be ranked, will ultimately be determined by the organization.

Voting Frequency:

New Bellator rankings will only be voted on after every event, regardless of frequency.

Votes will be due the Monday following a Bellator live event.

First-Place Votes:

Each rankings period will reveal how many number one contender votes each fighter received.

Voting Tabulation:

Tabulation of votes will be handled exclusively by Combat Registry, a third-party independent of Bellator MMA.

Voting Panel:

Bellator fighter rankings will be voted on exclusively by media members within the MMA industry.

In no capacity, will Bellator staff, athletes, talent or other organization personnel participate in voting.

The inaugural voting panel will include the following members of the media:

Jeff Cain – MMA Weekly
Brian Campbell – CBS Sports
Rodrigo Del Campo – Claro Sports
Rob DeMello – KHON Hawaii
Jason Floyd – The MMA Report
George Garcia – MMA Junkie
Amy Kaplan – FanSided
Nolan King – MMA Junkie
John Hyon Ko – South China Morning Post
Mark LaMonica – Newsday
Igor Lazarin – TASS Russia
Shakiel Mahjouri – Fightful MMA
Joe McDonagh – Cageside Press
John Morgan – MMA Junkie
Ken Pishna – MMA Weekly

The first batch of rankings will be released ahead of the promotion’s April 2 debut on Showtime with Bellator 255: “Pitbull vs. Sanchez 2.”

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