The grand prix is the pinnacle of combat sport. It is the most difficult tournament format and has the potential to produce absolutely chaotic results. That chaos is why that, for the most part other than Japan’s RIZIN, the creation of an MMA grand prix is few and far between. However, there is a man who has never strayed from that chaos, but welcomes it to put on exciting fights throughout the years. That man is Scott Coker and he is at it again. Bellator will put on a heavyweight grand prix to crown its first heavyweight champion in four years.
“This is going to be something that’s iconic for us. Tournaments, traditionally, are kind of the way martial arts contests happen. Now we get to put eight iconic brand names in our sport together over a year, and then whoever wins will be crowned the heavyweight champion. I think there are certain fights that people want to see. Believe me, we’re going to have some amazing match-ups in this tournament. These fights that we’re going to put together are something that the fans want to see. These are iconic names, big brands.” — Scott Coker speaking to MMA Junkie.
Who are these eight iconic names who will be fighting in the heavyweight grand prix? Former UFC fighters Frank Mir, Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione will all be in the tournament along with greatest-of-all-time candidate, Fedor Emelianenko. Light heavyweight fighters on the roster are also jumping up to participate in this glorious grand prix. Newly-signed Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Muhammad ‘King Mo’ Lawal, Chael Sonnen and even current Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader will all attempt to win the Bellator heavyweight title.
The date of the first heavyweight grand prix bracket will be announced soon for 2018. This huge tournament will kick-off with Bellator’s events on Spike’s new re-branded Paramount Network launching in January.
“When Scott Coker signed on with Bellator in 2014, we knew that he would constantly innovate and bring new and creative ideas to the promotion. The heavyweight grand prix is a perfect example of that. The tournament will provide outstanding sports content for the soon-to-launch Paramount Network in 2018, and we’re excited about delivering this type of entertainment to our viewers.” — Spike Senior Vice President of Sports and Specials Jon Slusser speaking to MMA Junkie.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/10/2017