Ryan Bader’s move to Bellator is all but official.
The light heavyweight free agent took a gamble on himself when he decided to ride out his contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). On the last fight of his contract, Bader earned a dominant TKO victory over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a rematch from Sept. 2010.
“Darth” was highly sought after by Bellator. The promotion’s President Scott Coker said an offer would be made to the 205-pounder. While the UFC has the right to match, its President Dana White said they will allow Bader to move on.
Bader recently spoke to Brian Stann on his SiriusXM radio show. He said his time with the UFC appears to be over:
“Right now it kinda looks like it. Nothing’s 100 percent right now. I’m still working out some legal issues with my lawyer Dave Martin and the rest of them and getting through that. But with Dana coming out with that interview, it looks like they had the right to match and they just kinda said, ‘hey we’re not gonna match that one.’
So it definitely probably looks like it’s gonna be my last one. You never know in the future or whatnot, what it holds. But as of right now it looks like we’re gonna be with Bellator.”
Free agency has become a hot topic in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). Never before have we seen fighters really test the open market as they are now. Bader said that boils down to having more options.
“I felt like in the past it’s just not something that us UFC fighters did at all. Really because there was not much else out there. Now we have another organization like Bellator who is right on their heels. Going down even a different path and doing their down thing too.”