We now know who will be competing in the upcoming Bellator welterweight grand prix tournament.
It was revealed at Tuesday’s press conference by Bellator MMA President Scott Coker that the tournament will start on September 29 in San Jose, California in connection with the launch of the promotion’s new digital network partner DAZN.
The new streaming service will launch on September 10 with the price of $9.99 per month and have plans to have 70 live sports events annually, including 55 that will be exclusively live to DAZN. According to the announcement, the service will have just a monthly option with a 30-day free trial before startup with no cancellation penalty.
It was rumored a few months ago that the Viacom-owned promotion was looking to capitalize on the depth of its welterweight division and thus, there will be an nine-fighter welterweight grand prix created.
Coker has gone on record in the past by stating that he believes that Bellator’s welterweight division is better than the UFC’s, which is spearheaded by its champion Tyron Woodley. Bellator MMA launched its heavyweight tournament earlier this year and has been a success for the promotion.
Coker announced that the following fighters that would compete in the tournament: Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald, ex-champ Douglas Lima, Lorenz Larkin, Michael Page, Andrey Koreshkov, Jon Fitch, Neiman Gracie, Ed Ruth, and Yaroslav Amosov.
It was also noted that the tournament is likely to have a 10 competitor who has yet to be revealed. Also, no other details on how 10 fighters will work in an eight-fighter tournament. Lima vs. Koreshkov will kick off the tournament on September 29th.
“We have the best welterweight fighters on the planet,” Coker said at the presser (transcript courtesy of MMA Junkie). “We have the best welterweight division – better than any other league.”
MacDonald is slated to take on middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi for the middleweight title at an upcoming event that is set to take place on September 29, 2018. Once this fight is over, MacDonald will join the field in February 2019.
It should be noted that Paul Daley is not in this tournament as he was initially reported to be involved in it after signing a new deal with the promotion. However, Ariel Helwani is reporting that Daley’s involvement in the tournament was attempted to be made but a deal was not agreed upon.
Original plan was for Paul Daley to be a part of the Bellator 170 tourney, sources say, but a deal couldn’t be reached at this time. Their differences continue. Doesn’t seem like the door is completely closed, though. They’ve only announced one matchup so far.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 17, 2018
What are your thoughts on the promotion booking another tournament this year? Sound off in the comment section.