Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Phil Baroni has signed a North American-exclusive deal with Bellator MMA and could debut with the promotion as soon as May 2.
Baroni first alluded to his signing on his Twitter account, mentioning Bellator’s May 2 date in Atlantic City, N.J. Sherdog.com confirmed with a source close to the fighter that Baroni has signed a multi-fight deal with the Viacom-owned promotion and may indeed debut at Bellator 118, pending the approval of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.
Baroni is still signed to his contract with the Singapore-based One FC, Sherdog additionally confirmed. MMAJunkie.com first reported Baroni’s signing following the fighter’s announcement.
A 32-fight pro, Baroni began his MMA career in 2000, joining the UFC in 2001 and then signing with Japan’s Pride Fighting Championships in 2005. “The New York Bad Ass” next competed for EliteXC, Icon Sport and Strikeforce before finally returning to the UFC in 2009 for a two-fight stint.
Following back-to-back defeats in the Octagon, the 37-year-old signed with One FC, posting a 1-2 record in three promotional appearances to date. Baroni last competed in May 2013, when he suffered a fight-ending ankle injury in a technical knockout defeat to future title contender Nobutatsu Suzuki at One FC 9 “Rise to Power.”