With its welterweight tournament currently underway and its heavyweight bracket in the books, Bellator MMA is planning an event bigger grand prix — albeit in a smaller weight class — this fall.
During an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday, Bellator President Scott Coker revealed that the California-based promotion will hold a 16-man featherweight tournament beginning in October. Coker said that he is interested in doing the entire opening round in one night or during back-to-back shows on the same weekend.
Bellator’s reigning featherweight champion, Patricio Freire, will move up to challenge reigning lightweight king Michael Chandler in his next bout in May. The 145-pound division features numerous other interesting names including A.J. McKee, Henry Corrales, Aaron Pico, Darrion Caldwell, Emmanuel Sanchez, Leandro Higo and Sam Sicilia, to name a few.
The heavyweight grand prix recently concluded, with Ryan Bader claiming the vacant strap by virtue of a first-round knockout of Fedor Emelilanenko at Bellator 214 on Jan. 26. Meanwhile, the semifinals of the welterweight grand prix are set, as Rory MacDonald will face Jon Fitch on April 27, while Douglas Lima will square off against Michael Page on May 11.
Coker has said that he could envision the promotion doing at least one grand prix per year.