Marriott Signing Completes Bellator’s Featherweight Puzzle

By Brian Knapp Feb 20, 2010
Bellator Fighting Championships on Friday added the final piece to its upcoming eight-man featherweight tournament, as it agreed to a contract with John Eric Marriott. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Marriott joins 2009 Dream featherweight grand prix semi-finalist Joe Warren, former EliteXC champion Wilson Reis, International Fight League veteran Shad Lierley, Georgi Karakhanyan, Patricio Freire, Bao Quach and William Romero in the tournament-based promotion’s 145-pound draw. He has rattled off nine consecutive victories.

“Eric has an impressive record and is riding a great win streak,” Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a release. “He’s a great addition to round out the eighth and final spot in our tournament.”

Marriott last competed in December when he submitted Sean Wilson with a second-round rear-naked choke at a Titan Fighting Championships event. The 24-year-old Independence, Mo., native has never been finished in 19 professional bouts and holds notable victories over UFC exile Ryan Roberts and World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Chris Mickle. Based out of the Kids to Leaders MMA Gym in Lee’s Summit, Mo., Marriott has secured nearly half (eight) of his 17 career wins by submission.

Bellator inked a multi-tiered television deal with Fox Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo in October, giving the promotion instant credibility and staying power. The promotion offers Marriott exposure and the opportunity to climb the ladder.

“I’ve been working all my career to get signed by a big-time promotion like Bellator,” Marriott said. “Bellator has gotten a lot of recognition over the past few months from the fans and from the fighters, as well, and it’s very well-deserved. It’s a great organization for me because there’s not a lot of politics. If you keep winning, you keep fighting, and I really like that.”

First-round matchups for the featherweight tournament, which will establish a number one contender for unbeaten Bellator champion Joe Soto, will be announced next week.
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