Amidst all the chaos happening in the MMA world right now, Bellator dropped a huge bombshell yesterday that they’ll be putting on a heavyweight grand prix to crown their first heavyweight champion in four years. With all the names participating in the bracket, nearly every match-up is an opportunity to see bouts that we were never able to see due to the fighters not being in the UFC. After two long and storied careers, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir will meet the legend Fedor Emelianenko in the first round.
“I’ll be a part of the eight man tournament that’s been announced by Bellator. I got the word just last night or the night before. I got the call to say, ‘Hey, we need a headshot. We’re putting you in this.’ I obviously agreed. They told me the names that were in there and it looks like I’ll probably be lining up with Fedor [Emelianenko], hopefully in April . It’s a huge moment. I didn’t even sleep that night thinking about it, running it through my mind, watching videos, already starting to try to pick apart his different traits and gameplans.”
— Denis Geyko (@DenisGeykoRT) November 11, 2017
“I even told the wife, ‘What if I take off for eight-to-ten weeks and I got to Chechnya or something, Grozny, go through a training camp and really just take this as seriously as I’ve even taken any fight in my life.[…] It’s going to be interesting to finally see us face off. That was my first thought too honestly, ‘Wow, we’re going to fight each other right off the bat. Why wouldn’t you spread us out. It’d be interesting to watch the bracket.’ But I’m like, well, a fight’s a fight. Now, you have to worry about both guys coming through, not just one guy succeeding. So, you’re right. The most bang for your buck that guarantees that we’re going to actually face off is the opening round [sometime in April]. On Monday I’ll be flying out there [to Bellator] for PR stuff.” — Frank Mir on his own Phone Booth Fighting podcast.
This will be the first time in 16 years that Frank Mir has fought for an organization other than the UFC. Fedor Emelianenko and the UFC were never able to come to a deal multiple times for years and years, robbing us of some potentially incredible fights. It seems like Scott Coker’s grand prix is making up for lost time and giving us a chance to see some of these match-ups that slipped us by, but that time never forgot. Nothing is official, but Frank Mir and Fedor Emelianenko is targeted for the opening of the eight-man tournament in April of 2018.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/11/2017.