Bellator has been trying their hardest to gather momentum in the mixed martial arts world. After announcing their plans to embark in the pay per view market, it was confirmed that Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson would headline the promotion’s first PPV card.
Bellator officials dropped another major announcement today as they revealed Cheick Kongo is set to make his Bellator debut in September, and he will be featured in Season 9’s Heavyweight Tournament.
Cheick Kongo left the Ultimate Fighting Championship after losing to Roy Nelson in devastating fashion. Kongo walked into the bout in incredible shape, but his time in the octagon was cut short after Nelson knocked him out in the first round. It was the last fight on his contract. The UFC offered Kongo a new contract, but he declined and explored other options.
“After my contract was up in the UFC, I really wanted to take some time and reflect on everything,” Kongo said. “After talking to the people around me, especially someone like my longtime friend in Rampage, he told me how well Bellator has been treating him and what we can do with Bellator, and after getting to know Bjorn Rebney, it just seemed like the right fit for me. I know I have plenty of fight left in me, and my fight in October is the first step to getting that Bellator Heavyweight Title.”
Kongo was a staple of the UFC’s heavyweight division as he was with the company for almost seven years. Throughout his time in the UFC, he claimed victories over several notable fighters like Pat Barry, Matt Mitrione, Mustapha Al Turk and Mirko Cro Cop.
“If you’re an MMA fan, you’re a Kongo fan,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “No matter who he fights he’s always going to bring the fight and put on a great show, and he’s one of the best guys you’ll have the pleasure of dealing with in MMA. This is another example of our alliance with Wolfslair and Anthony McGann resulting in our signing an exciting, explosive fighter to our roster who fans know and love.”