Decorated Judoka Kheder Joins Bellator Lightweight Tournament

By Mike Whitman Feb 9, 2011
Ferrid Kheder | James Meinhardt/

Accomplished judoka and 2000 Sydney Olympian Ferrid Kheder will compete in Bellator Fighting Championships’ upcoming fourth-season lightweight tournament, the promotion announced on Wednesday. The eight-man grand prix will begin in March and air live on MTV2.

The “Hurricane” joins Rob McCullough, Carey Vanier, Michael Chandler and Lloyd Woodard in the tournament field, making five participants now official. Patricky Freire, Marcin Held and Toby Imada are also expected to compete in the tournament, though their participation has not yet been ratified by the promotion.

Currently training at Kings MMA in Huntington Beach, Calif., Kheder’s most recent bout was embroiled in controversy. After three rounds of action against Hermes Franca in Costa Rica on Dec. 19, the fight went to the judges’ scorecards. Though most observers believed that Franca had secured a clear victory, Kheder was awarded a decision win. The bout was later overturned to a no-contest. The 35-year-old French Tunisian had won five straight bouts prior to his fight with Franca.

“I’m absolutely determined to win this tournament,” Kheder said in a press release “I think I’m one of the best in the world when I have the proper training and I’m fully prepared. I have three fights to win in this tournament, and then I’ll have the opportunity to fight for the title against one of the best lightweights in the world. I know this is a really huge opportunity for me.”

As with all of Bellator’s tournaments, the winner of the lightweight bracket will be awarded $100,000 in total pay, as well as a shot at Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. Kheder was originally slated to compete in Bellator’s second lightweight tournament in spring 2010, but was forced to withdraw due to appendicitis.
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