Capping off 2018’s MMA calendar will be RIZIN 14 on New Year’s Eve. With the full lineup now revealed, there is plenty to look forward to.
Among the announced bouts, for most, the most anticipated will be the fantasy bout that will be fought over the inaugural RIZIN bantamweight title. That fight will feature none other than the current Bellator 135-pound champion, Darrion ‘The Wolf’ Caldwell as he goes to Japan to challenge one of their biggest stars in Kyoji Horiguchi.
Having done some minor collaborating in the past, this time Bellator President Scott Coker and RIZIN Founder Nobuyuki Sakakibara would come up with a fight we didn’t think was possible.
“We each had to make sure we were protected on the back side,” Coker told ESPN. “If Darrion Caldwell wins the Rizin belt, at least once a year, we’ll send ‘DC’ to Japan to defend that belt, because it’s not fair to them to put their championship on the line and if he wins…sorry, you don’t have it anymore.
“Nobuyuki Sakakibara and I got on the same page. If Horiguchi comes here and wins, then he’s a two-belt champion, and once a year Sakakibara will send Horiguchi to Bellator to defend that belt against the next title contender. That was important to both of us.”
It’s definitely a first in the world of MMA. Two major MMA promotions cooperating in such a friendly and beneficial manner will be surely fresh to see for fighters and MMA fans alike.
“I do think Rizin and Bellator will work multiple times together next year,” Scott Coker continued. “I think it could lead to a big event where it would be ‘Rizin vs. Bellator’ in Japan or over here, next year. I think you’ll see that type of collaboration.”
Already pretty unique in their own rights, Bellator and RIZIN will only further standout from everyone else if they continue to successfully coexist.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/3/2018