The last 12 months have been massive ones for Bellator.
To recount, the number-two MMA promotion has picked up notable free agents such as: former UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson, former UFC light heavyweight contender Phil Davis, former UFC heavyweight contender Matt Mitrione, heavyweight veteran Sergei Kharitonov, former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald, Pride legend Wanderlei Silva, beloved trash talker Chael Sonnen, heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko, former UFC welterweight contender Lorenz Larkin, former UFC light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader, former UFC bantamweight title challenger Michael McDonald…. exhale…
Needless to say, Bellator has picked up a truly impressive number of high profile free agents over the last year or so – so many, in fact, that it’s hard not to imagine them slowing down on that front for a little while.
This will not be the case. According to ever-reliable MMA reporter Ariel Helwani, Bellator has been given the OK from its deep-pocketed parent company Viacom to wage war on the UFC by signing every big-name free agent available.
“I was talking to someone, a rather high-up official, at the press conference at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday of last week,” Helwani explained on the MMA Hour. “They told me, ‘Look Ariel, if you think we’re done as far as free agent signings are concerned, we are not done. We have been told from the highest level possible at Viacom to not stop now, to, as they put it, build the 1927 [New York] Yankees. Just sign every single big name out there.’ They are going to be very aggressive. I think when it comes to December or so, we’re going to look back on this time and say ‘wow, they just scratched the surface.’ At least that’s what they’re telling me right now.”
How do you think Bellator’s continued efforts to pick up high profile free agents will effect the MMA landscape? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/3/2017.