Bellator MMA Thread [Spoilers] (1 Viewer)


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Jiu-jitsu champion Rafael Lovato signs with Bellator
Bellator MMA is adding an elite name to its roster from sport, and particularly American, jiu-jitsu. Sources tell MMA Fighting Rafael Lovato, Jr. has signed with the organization to join its middleweight division.

Lovato, 33, currently holds a professional MMA record of 4-0. He made his debut in 2014, competing only once in 2015 and twice in 2016. All of his bouts have taken place in the Legacy Fighting Championship cage, the last of which came in a first-round submission victory (armbar) this past November.

The Carlos Machado-black belt is noteworthy in sport jiu-jitsu for his 2007 World Championship victory, whereby he became the third American to earn that designation. In 2013, he became the first non-Brazilian to win the Brazilian National Championship in both his own weight class as well as the open division.

The American will make his Bellator debut on March 3 when he takes on Wayman Carter at Bellator 174. Their bout will take place on the prelim portion of the card while the event is set to be headlined by a women’s featherweight title bout between Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd. Bellator 174 takes place at the WinStar Casino in Thackerville, Okla.
[DOUBLEPOST=1487121795,1487084743][/DOUBLEPOST]Bellator MMA Releases Former Top Prospect Bubba Jenkins
Bellator MMA has released former NCAA national champion wrestler Bubba Jenkins following an 11-fight stint with the promotion. confirmed the news with a Bellator official on Tuesday. The MMA Report first brought word of Jenkins’ release.


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Josh Koscheck wants BJ Penn to come to Bellator for better matchups
"They fed BJ to the lions in that one," Koscheck told "If BJ were to come to Bellator, they'd put him in a good matchup that is something exciting for the fans. I hated to see BJ in that kind of fight, taking that kind of damage. That kid he fought is a stud.”

"BJ has money,” he continued. “He's not fighting for money. He wants to compete. I also want to go in and compete, get my hand raised."

At this stage of his career, Koscheck seems perfectly satisfied fighting under Bellator. On Saturday, he will be making his debut with the company at Bellator 172, when he faces Mauricio Alonso.

"With what Bellator's got going on, I can fight guys my own age, which is cool. I'm not in this to make money. I'm trying to test myself at age 39, see what I'm still capable of. And we'll get to find out on Saturday."


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Bellator signs Brazilian bantamweight prospect Leandro Higo
Another talent from the Pitbull Brothers team has joined Bellator MMA.

Leandro Higo, the Legacy Fighting Alliance 135-pound champion, has signed an exclusive, multi-fight deal with the promotion, Bellator officials told MMA Fighting on Thursday.
[DOUBLEPOST=1487882154,1487881946][/DOUBLEPOST]Vitaly Minakov talks contract situation, still considers himself Bellator heavyweight champion
"The contract with Bellator is in force now,” Minakov told MMA Fighting through a translator. "If I am not mistaken, it runs for another eight fights. I fight for Fight Nights Global now, but we carry on negotiations about the better terms of contract and the reduction of fights in Bellator."

Bellator officials told MMA Fighting they can't comment regarding active negotiations, but confirmed that Minakov is still under contract with Bellator. The Russian heavyweight, who hasn’t fought for Bellator since Scott Coker replaced Bjorn Rebney, doesn’t rule out coming back to the promotion.

"Lately, I fight only in Russia in Fight Nights Global,” Minakov said. "If we have luck in communication with Bellator, I will continue there. If not, I am looking for strong opponents in Fight Nights Global.

"If the organization agrees to make our contract acceptable,” he said when asked to give a timetable for his return to the United States, "I will not keep myself waiting for a long time."

Vitaly Minakov competed under the Bellator banner for less than two years, but it was enough for him to win four fights and become the promotion’s heavyweight champion. A lot has changed since though.

More than a year after his last title defense against Cheick Kongo, the undefeated fighter returned to his home country of Russia to compete at Fight Nights in 2015. Minakov finished Adam Maciejewski in 21 seconds, and never returned to the Bellator cage. When Minakov scored three straight finishes in Russia, Bellator decided to strip him of his belt in May 2016.

After adding another quick win to his record last June, the unbeaten heavyweight looks to improve to 19-0 on Feb. 23, when he faces DJ Linderman at Russia’s Fight Nights Global 59. And despite his activity overseas, Minakov is still under contract with Bellator.

"The contract with Bellator is in force now,” Minakov told MMA Fighting through a translator. "If I am not mistaken, it runs for another eight fights. I fight for Fight Nights Global now, but we carry on negotiations about the better terms of contract and the reduction of fights in Bellator."

Bellator officials told MMA Fighting they can't comment regarding active negotiations, but confirmed that Minakov is still under contract with Bellator. The Russian heavyweight, who hasn’t fought for Bellator since Scott Coker replaced Bjorn Rebney, doesn’t rule out coming back to the promotion.

"Lately, I fight only in Russia in Fight Nights Global,” Minakov said. "If we have luck in communication with Bellator, I will continue there. If not, I am looking for strong opponents in Fight Nights Global.

"If the organization agrees to make our contract acceptable,” he said when asked to give a timetable for his return to the United States, "I will not keep myself waiting for a long time."

As for Bellator’s decision to strip him of his heavyweight belt, Minakov doesn’t feel it makes a difference after all as he still considers himself the champion.

"I consider it was typical to (strip) me,” Minakov said. "First of all, I have not fought in this company for four years. (…) Even though I have been (stripped), as you can see, and due to non-sporting reason, I consider myself as Bellator champion. I didn’t lose any fight. It is just a formal decision.”

Ready to face a 20-11 veteran in Linderman, Minakov would also welcome fights against top competition in North American promotions.

“(As for the) heavyweight division, I won’t speak about the particular company, it is a perfect time to come to organization and fight,” he said. "It is generational change. Old residents retire and young hopefuls are ready to take their place in best world leagues. There is a fierce war for the first places and for the titles. Of course, in addition to battles in Russia, I would like to compete with the fighters of foreign promotion companies. Will I have such an opportunity? Time will show."

Minakov has to take care of Linderman before targeting other opponents first, though.

"Linderman has a great experience in MMA, he has more than 30 fights in different organizations,” said the Russian heavyweight. "He is forceful and a die-hard sportsman, works aggressively as No. 1. It makes him dangerous."

"It doesn’t matter for me what kind of fight he will chose,” he continued. "I am ready for everything, no matter what will it be: stand up or (the ground). I don’t think Linderman will wrestle with me. But if it is so, it will be a kind of gift for me and I will take it with pleasure."


BAMMA 28 stream here
Premliminary Card - BAMMA 28: (Untelevised) @ 12:15 PM ET

Division Fighters
Lightweight Norman Parke vs. Paul Redmond
Flyweight Andy Young vs. Dominique Wooding
Featherweight Ronnie Mann vs. Damien Lapilus
Lightweight Rhys McKee vs. Tim Barnett
Lightweight Steve Owens vs. Jai Herbert
Featherweight Andrew Murphy vs. Stephen Kilifin
Featherweight Niall Smith vs. Daniel Rutkowski
Welterweight O. Olejniczak vs. Jonathan Reid
Middleweight Glenn Irvine vs. Keith McCabe
Middleweight Will Fleury vs. Kyle McClurkin
Featherweight Decky Dalton vs. Jonathan Brookinss
Featherweight Adam Gustab vs. Paul Hughes
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Bellator Hires Ex-UFC Staffer as Senior Director of Communications and Athlete Strategy
Bellator MMA announced Wednesday afternoon that Ryan Grab has been named Senior Director of Communications and Athlete Strategy. The move is effective immediately.

Grab recently served as the Director of Communications for Phoenix International Raceway and is reported to be overseeing all communications and media relations for both Bellator MMA and Bellator Kickboxing.

“We are pleased to welcome Ryan to our staff,” said Bellator MMA President Scott Coker. “His years of experience in the MMA industry will have an immediate impact on our team at Bellator and we look forward to him assisting with the overall growth of the organization.”

Prior to working for Phoenix International Raceway, Grab spent five years working for the UFC, where he handled PR and worked within the promotion’s Athlete Development department. In that capacity, Grab was responsible for organizing and programming educational summits for active athletes as well as promoting health and safety within the sport of MMA. He also worked for Strikeforce for two years in a promotional capacity after the UFC acquired the MMA promotion.

“I am excited about the new opportunity with Bellator and Viacom,” said Grab, who earned a Master’s degree from the University of Georgia. “I am looking forward to again working with Scott Coker to promote some of the best athletes in the world and continuing to elevate the Bellator brand as a premier global combat sports property.”


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Bellator signs Conor McGregor friend, training partner Dillon Danis
Bellator has added another interesting addition to its blooming roster, this time in the form of Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout Dillon Danis.

In the grappling world Danis (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is known for being one of the best at his craft. To strictly MMA fans, however, he’s become familiar as the outspoken training partner of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.

Danis has never competed in a professional MMA bout, but has been in the forefront of McGregor’s recent training camps, aiding the UFC champ in his preparation for a UFC 202 victory over Nate Diaz this past August, as well as a title-winning knockout of Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November.

Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole first reported Danis’ signing. The news was subsequently confirmed to MMAjunkie by a Bellator official.

Danis recently posted on his Instagram account that he would have a “big fight announcement coming soon.”

“I want to fight the best, just like Conor does,” Danis told Yahoo! Sports. “We’re different people, though we’re very like-minded. We set high goals and we aren’t afraid to try to achieve. I feel he’s the best ever, in my opinion, and so if people want to compare us, well, how could it be bad if you’re a basketball player to be compared to Michael Jordan? That’s essentially what people would be saying if they compare us.

“I obviously respect what he has accomplished and will accomplish in the future. He’s incredible and the aura of confidence he has is amazing. He’s a champion for a reason. But I want to go down my own path and do it my way.”


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Bellator Not Stopping Free Agency Push, Upping Tentpole Events & New Territories
Bellator MMA has been on an upward trajectory ever since its new owners at Viacom/Spike TV handed Scott Coker the reigns in 2014, but things have really picked up in the past year on the strength of marquee free-agent signings and highly-rated “tentpole” events.

And according to Coker, fight fans should only expect more of that winning one-two punch going forward. Bellator is planning an increase to eight big shows this year, with the chance to hit one per month within the next 2-3 years, and will continue to doggedly pursue the sport’s top talents to feature on these cards.

“If you look at the fighters we signed last year and the fighters we’ll get this year, I believe we’ll have an 80 to 90 percent success rate with the fighters we wanted to sign who we feel would move the needle for us,” Coker said. “Any fighter we feel can add value to this roster, we’re going to go out there and do our best to sign him.”

Over the past year and some change, Bellator has truly arrived as the clear No. 2 in this space behind the UFC, landing former champions/title challengers like Benson Henderson and Rory MacDonald, as well as elite-level draws including Chael Sonnen and, most recently, Fedor Emelianenko.

But while fighters of this caliber, and fight cards along the lines of the Sonnen-headlined Bellator 170, mean big business, Coker stresses that the smaller shows are just as crucial to the company’s long-term health. Much like the “Challengers” series for his now-defunct Strikeforce promotion, the less-heralded events Bellator puts on every month offers top prospects a chance to get their feet wet before being thrown into deep waters.

“Really, that’s where we find the talent,” Coker said. “(Strikeforce Challengers) is where we found Tyron Woodley and Daniel Cormier and Luke Rockhold and all these gems. I think the combination really makes for developing a nice roster.”

In hopes of finding the next crop of future champions in a more competitive market, Coker has really tapped into the collegiate wrestling circuit, signing All-Americans like Jarod Trice, Joey Davis and Tyrell Fortune, as well as the soon-to-debut 20-year-old Aaron Pico — arguably the most-anticipated blue chipper in MMA today.


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[DOUBLEPOST=1490652622,1490624794][/DOUBLEPOST]Dillon Danis boasts he’s the ‘highest-paid guy in Bellator now’
Danis signed a contract with Bellator MMA just two weeks ago, and he’s wasted little time placing the target squarely on his own back.

On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, the Marcelo Garcia-trained competitor told his fellow Bellator fighters -- a roster which includes Chael Sonnen, Fedor Emelianenko, Benson Henderson, and Phil Davis, among others -- that he’s the most famous of the lot.

Asked why Bellator would be interested in signing with them, Danis said it’s because he’s better known than the rest.

“I have a bigger following and a bigger name than anyone on the roster,” Danis said. “So at the end of the day I wasn’t surprised. It was the right move for them. You can put any of those bums against me, and they’ll get a rating.”

Danis, whose most notable credential in the MMA world is his work with UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, said he chose to sign with Bellator for a simple reason: The money was right.

“We talked to the UFC, for them it’s just hard to sign anyone who doesn’t have any fights,” Danis said. “We were negotiating but Bellator came with money from the beginning. In the future, we’ll see what happens, but it was right this time with Bellator, the money was right, everything was right and they needed a star, you know?”

Danis confirmed on The MMA Hour that his contract is for four fights. While he wouldn’t give specifics on the dollar amounts, he made a claim that is sure to raise eyebrows in some corners of the Bellator locker room.

“I’m the highest-paid guy in Bellator now, so that’s all I can say,” Danis said.

The 23-year-old Danis will enter mixed martial arts on a timetable which will enable him to continue his pursuit of goals in the grappling world, including June’s world championship in Long Beach, Calif., and September’s ADCC tournament in Finland.

“My deal with them is I’m going to compete, to play for them after ADCC,” Danis said. “Right now, I’m still doing my goals and competing in gi and no-gi. I still have my goals and then after, I want to go to MMA. Then I’ll go into full MMA mode after that.”

Danis says that as of now, while he’s done some boxing and Muay Thai training, and plans on doing some work with noted trainer Phil Nurse, he’s not going to begin his full-time MMA training until after the ADCCs.

But when the time comes, Danis knows his MMA debut will be a matter of huge hype. And that he’ll have a bullseye on his back, one that he largely placed on his own back with his brash words.

And he’s okay with that since he’s been dealing with it in the jiu-jitsu world already.

“It’s just who I am,” Danis said. “I’m not trying to be anyone. I’m okay with it. At the end of the day, I told the truth and that’s it. I’m not trying to be anything, that’s just how I am. I say the truth and people get upset about it. These guys in jiu-jitsu are mad, but at the end of the day, I’m bringing more attention.”


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if anyone believes a 0-0 fighter is the highest paid fighter in bellator I have a bridge for sale.
the conor schtick doesn't work when you've never had a single fight. he's not even training MMA full time yet HAHA
[DOUBLEPOST=1490660331,1490659768][/DOUBLEPOST]just found out he already backed out of his gracie fight, and he never even made it out of his bracket at the pan ams recently. Not to mention the guy he lost to didn't finish inside the top 5

but yea, highest paid fighter in bellator. think his mouth is a little bigger than his results. Sounds more like his eyes got a little opened

someone that watched the event said:
In his first match at the Pans, Danis could not move past Lucas Rocha's de la Riva guard. He was gassed after 3 minutes, got swept, got his back taken and spent the last two minutes trying to get a toe hold.

It was a 8 -2 beat down by a smaller Rocha who never was in trouble. Danis looked exhausted when it was over and it took him awhile to tie his belt.

Good luck with Bellator (and pray for a can).
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Putting the stamp on kids
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Dillon and Artem are both tools.
[DOUBLEPOST=1490665289,1490665143][/DOUBLEPOST]Ilima Macfarlane vs. Jessica Middleton co-headlines Bellator 178 on April 21
Next month’s Bellator 178 fight card will feature a women’s flyweight matchup between Ilima Macfarlane and Jessica Middleton as the co-main event.

Bellator officials today announced the 125-pound bout between Macfarlane (5-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) and Middleton (2-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA).

Bellator 178 takes place April 21 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on Spike following prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.
[DOUBLEPOST=1490665409][/DOUBLEPOST]Chael Sonnen explains van incident that started Wanderlei Silva rivalry, Silva angrily responds
Sonnen explained the origin of his feud with Silva on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani ahead of their fight at Bellator NYC on June 24 in New York. The two were doing a UFC promotional tour and Sonnen said out of nowhere — after spending the entire day together — Silva cued a camera guy to start rolling.

Sonnen was getting set to face Anderson Silva for a second time for the UFC middleweight title. During the lead up to the first fight, Sonnen had some pointed trash talk about Silva, his home country of Brazil and his mentors, the Nogueira brothers. Wanderlei, a proud Brazilian, made it known he didn’t appreciate that in the van.

“In Brazil we have a saying, ‘if you have respect, you don’t lose your teeth,’” Silva said in the video. “In Brazil we say that. Give respect.”

The video ended up making its way to YouTube. Sonnen didn’t say much during the ride. He said he was confused about what had went on.

“He was doing this whole thing and I was like, ‘Wanderlei, this is really weird,’” Sonnen said. “‘Because first of all, you’re telling me off, which is a little bit — that’s rude. Second, we’ve spent the whole day together. We’re in a van, man. Are you trying to start a fight with me in a van?’ … And third, you brought the camera man.”

Before that moment, Sonnen said the two men had a decent relationship. The first time they met, Sonnen said they sparred at Randy Couture’s gym. Sonnen didn’t have a mouthpiece that day and Silva “took care” of him, he said, even giving him some striking advice.

“He was just a great guy,” Sonnen said.

Sonnen said he also went to the grand opening of Silva’s gym in Las Vegas. So the whole van thing caught him unaware.

“It’s like, ‘Hey, well then game on, man,’” Sonnen said. “I appreciate you looking after me that one day, but if this is the way you want to go, I’m a fighter, too.”

The two would then embark on an on-again, off-again rivalry. Things heated up in 2014 when they were booked to coach opposite each other on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil and then fight at UFC 175. On the show, the two famously brawled on the set.

That whole situation is something that still ticks off Sonnen, not because he got sucker punched by one of Silva’s coaches, but by two other things: Wanderlei didn’t stick to the rivalry’s “script” and Sonnen’s wife was present the day when the fight occurred.

Sonnen, using a pro-wrestling explanation, said he was supposed to be the bad guy in the feud and Silva was supposed to be the babyface, defending Brazil. Silva bullying him while he was alone in Brazil with no one to help him did not allow Silva to come across like a good guy.

“The script is written,” Sonnen said. “I’m the bad guy. You be the the white knight. You come save your country and we’ll go fight this out on pay per view. This is really obvious. But if you bully me while I’m alone, it’s gonna have the reverse effect.”

Sonnen, 39, was right on about that. Silva was booed at Brazil events thereafter and Sonnen cheered. The roles had reversed. Sonnen also just didn’t appreciate Silva doing that in front of Sonnen’s wife.

“I don’t like you at all, but if you show up somewhere with your wife, we’re doing it your way,” Sonnen said.

The two did not end up fighting in 2014. Silva evaded a drug test and was pulled by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Sonnen ended up failing two drug tests. So, the fight at Bellator NYC will be something like five years in the making.

During Sonnen’s interview on The MMA Hour, Silva actually called in. He didn’t seem to want to discuss history, though. In an angry rant, Silva basically said the time for talking is over. Bellator has a press conference for the event scheduled for Tuesday, but Silva will not be there in person. He’ll be there via video.

“I have two balls, he has two balls,” Silva said. “Let’s prove that. … I want to beat you so bad.”

Silva did manage to get in some promotion for the big card.

“We are the top fighters in the world,” Silva said. “We’re gonna make the biggest fight in the history. One of the most famous arenas in the world. On that day, Bellator is gonna be bigger than the UFC.”

Sonnen didn’t respond to Silva while he was on the phone. He wasn’t sure if was really him initially. Perhaps it was a similar to being in the van that day in Austin.

“I don’t know what to say,” Sonnen said. “I didn’t know what to say this whole thing.”

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