Bellator MMA has created a new fail-safe to ensure that champions will defend their titles in a timely fashion.
Promotion officials announced Tuesday that a “tournament champion replacement clause” will go into effect during the promotion’s ninth season. The clause is designed to allow champions to defend their belts in the event that injuries force tournament winners out of title shots.
In the scenario that eligible tournament winners are unable to challenge for a title, Bellator officials will follow a points system to determine the champion’s new opponent. Promotion officials will examine the most recent tournament held in the weight class and award the fighters points for their victories. Decision wins will be worth one point, while stoppage victories in the first, second and third rounds will be worth four, three and two points, respectively.
Bellator officials will then form a list composed of the top three or four point earners. Three groups will then vote on the next challenger, with Bellator world champions, current tournament winners and promotion executives each being given 33 percent of the voting power.
The new clause marks the third time Bellator has adapted its method for choosing title challengers. The Viacom-owned promotion last year instituted a policy that would allow for title-bout rematches, and the organization recently rolled out a four-fighter tournament format for the 2013 Summer Series.