Update: Rory MacDonald’s title will be up for grabs throughout Bellator welterweight tournament

Rory MacDonald

Bellator’s anticipated welterweight Grand Prix will be a little different from the other tournament’s Bellator President Scott Coker has promoted in the past.

Because Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald will be involved in the tournament, the welterweight belt will be up for grabs starting with MacDonald’s first tournament bout. In other words, the tournament winner will be Bellator’s welterweight champion, and it’s conceivable that the title could change hands more than once as the tournament unfurls.

Furthermore, because the title will be up for grabs throughout this tournament, each tournament bout will be a full five rounds, rather than the typical three.

These updates come from ESPN‘s Brett Okamoto, who spoke with Coker this week.

“This is truly the best welterweight division on the planet,” Coker told Okamoto. “We have the best fighters on the planet — better than any other league.”

Bellator’s welterweight tournament will be populated Rory MacDonald, former champion Andrey Koreshkov, former champion Douglas Lima, former UFC welterweight contender Lorenz Larkin, former UFC welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch, British striker Michael “Venom” Page, grappling ace Neiman Gracie, surging prospect Ed Ruth and Ukrainian talent Yaroslav Amosov. British knockout artist Paul Daley is also expected to join the tournament field. 

The tournament will begin on September 29, when former champions Koreshkov and Lima meet in a tie-breaking trilogy fight. The bout will air on the streaming service DAZN.

On the same card, Rory MacDonald will move up to middleweight to battle divisional champion Gegard Mousasi for the title. Regardless of the outcome of this bout, he will then return to the welterweight division to defend his title throughout this perilous tournament.

Do you think Rory MacDonald can hang onto his Bellator welterweight title throughout this incredible welterweight Grand Prix, or will we see a new champion crowned?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/18/2018.