|Industry||Mixed martial arts promotion|
|Headquarters||Newport Beach, California, United States|
Bjorn Rebney, Chairman/CEO
Bellator MMA (formerly known as "Bellator Fighting Championships") is a mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the USA. Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, the company was formed in 2008 by Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. Bellator’s events are primarily structured around tournaments. The tournament winner is declared the number one contender in their respective weight class, and is awarded a check for $100,000 and a shot at the reigning Bellator champion.
Its live events and competitions have been shown internationally on TV Esporte Interativo, Fox Sports (Brazil), Space! and TruTV in Brazil, and recently on Viva in the United Kingdom and on HOT (Ego Total channel) in Israel.
The word "Bellator" means "warrior" in Latin.
- 1 History
- 2 Reality show
- 3 Rules
- 4 Bellator Events
- 5 Current Champions
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Bellator Fighting Championships: Season One (April 3, 2009 - June 19, 2009)
During Bellator’s first season, events were broadcast nationally on ESPN Deportes in the United States. Bellator 1 took place on April 3, 2009 and like many events that season, aired via tape delay. Tournaments took place in the middleweight, welterweight, lightweight and featherweight divisions with the winners becoming the inaugural Bellator World Champions in their specific weight class. Hector Lombard defeated Jared Hess in the finals of the middleweight tournament to become the 185 lbs. Champion while Lyman Good defeated Omar De La Cruz to secure the Bellator Welterweight Title. In addition, Eddie Alvarez defeated Toby Imada to win the Bellator Lightweight Belt while Joe Soto defeated Yahir Reyes to become the Bellator Featherweight Champion. Color commentary for Bellator’s first season was provided by Jon Anik and Jason Chambers.
|Middleweight||Hector Lombard||Jared Hess||Bellator 12|
|Welterweight||Lyman Good||Omar De La Cruz||Bellator 11|
|Lightweight||Eddie Alvarez||Toby Imada||Bellator 12|
|Featherweight||Joe Soto||Yahir Reyes||Bellator 10|
Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Two (April 8, 2010 - June 24, 2010)
For Bellator’s second season, events aired nationally on FOX Sports Net in the United States. Season two debuted on April 8, 2010 and like season one, hosted tournaments in the middleweight, welterweight, lightweight and featherweight divisions. Alexander Shlemenko defeated Bryan Baker (fighter) to become the Middleweight Tournament Champion while Ben Askren defeated Dan Hornbuckle to win the 170 lb tournament. Also, Pat Curran defeated Toby Imada to win the lightweight tournament and Joe Warren (fighter) defeated Patricio Pitbull to become the Featherweight Tournament Champion. Season two tournament champions were awarded a check for $100,000 and a title shot against the Season 1 Champions. In addition to the tournament fights, season two was the first season to host non-tournament, non-title super fights for current champions. Three of Bellator’s four champions competed in super fights during Season 2. Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard scored the fastest knockout in Bellator history when he defeated Jay Silva in a catch weight bout at Bellator 18. Also, Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez submitted Josh Neer in a catch weight bout at Bellator 17 and Joe Soto scored a technical knockout victory over Diego Saraiva in a featherweight bout at Bellator 19. Welterweight Champion Lyman Good was the only champion to not participate in a season two non-title super fight. Bellator also introduced the new commentary team of Jimmy Smith and Sean Wheelock during Season 2.
|Middleweight||Alexander Shlemenko||Bryan Baker||Bellator 23|
|Welterweight||Ben Askren||Dan Hornbuckle||Bellator 22|
|Lightweight||Pat Curran||Toby Imada||Bellator 21|
|Featherweight||Joe Warren||Patricio Freire||Bellator 23|
Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Three (August 12, 2010 - October 28, 2010)
Bellator kicked off its third season on August 12, 2010 with tournaments in the bantamweight, heavyweight, and women’s divisions. Zach Makovsky defeated Ed West at Bellator 32 to win the 135 lb tournament and become the promotions first ever Bellator Bantamweight Champion.Also that same evening, Cole Konrad submitted Neil Grove to win the heavyweight tournament and become the first Heavyweight Champion in Bellator history. Zoila Gurgel became the first Bellator Women’s Champion when she defeated Megumi Fujii at Bellator 34. The first official title defense took place between defending Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Soto and Season 2 Tournament Champion Joe Warren at Bellator 37. Warren defeated Soto by TKO to become the new Bellator Featherweight Champion. Other championship fights featured during season 3 were Hector Lombard retaining his Bellator middleweight championship by defeating Season 2 Tournament Winner, Alexander Shlemenko and Season 2 Welterweight Tournament Champion, Ben Askren, defeating reigning champion Lyman Good to become the new Bellator Welterweight Champion. Some of the memorable moments from Bellator’s Season three are Eddie Alvarez’s third round TKO victory over UFC veteran Roger Huerta in a non-title match and Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard’s 38 second knockout of Herbert Goodman at Bellator 24.
|Heavyweight||Cole Konrad||Neil Grove||Bellator 32|
|Bantamweight||Zach Makovsky||Ed West||Bellator 32|
|Women's Strawweight (115 lbs.)||Zoila Gurgel||Megumi Fujii||Bellator 34|
Season Four –The MTV2 Partnership
Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Four (March 5, 2011 - May 21, 2011)
Season Four of Bellator began broadcasting nationally on March 5, 2011 and marked the promotions departure from FOX Sports Net to MTV2. Season 4 showcased tournaments in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and light heavyweight divisions. Patricio “Pitbull” defeated Daniel Straus at Bellator 45 to become the Bellator Featherweight Tournament Champion while Christian M'Pumbu defeated Richard Hale (fighter) the same night to become the first Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion in history. Also, Michael Chandler became the Bellator Season 4 Lightweight Tournament Champion when he defeated Patricky “Pitbull” at Bellator 44 while Jay Hieron booked a welterweight title shot by defeating Rick Hawn in the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Championship at Bellator 43. Some of the memorable highlights from Bellator’s fourth season include Ben Saunders earning a TKO victory over Matt Lee in his Bellator debut, Richard Hale’s inverted triangle choke over Nik Fekete at Bellator 38, a flying knee knockout by Patricky “Pitbull” over Toby Imada at Bellator 39 and Hector Lombard’s one punch knockout of Falaniko Vitale at Bellator 44. Hale and Pitbull were, respectively, nominated for the 2011 World MMA Awards submission of the year and knockout of the year.
|Light Heavyweight||Christian M'Pumbu||Richard Hale||Bellator 45|
|Welterweight||Jay Hieron||Rick Hawn||Bellator 43|
|Lightweight||Michael Chandler||Patricky Freire||Bellator 44|
|Featherweight||Patricio Freire||Daniel Straus||Bellator 45|
Summer Series 2011
Bellator Fighting Championships: 2011 Summer Series (June 25, 2011 - August 27, 2011)
In the summer of 2011, Bellator introduced the Summer Series which would feature a featherweight tournament that would decide a challenger for reigning Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren. Like Season 4, the Summer Series was broadcast nationally on MTV2. A total of three events were held during the Summer Series including Bellator 47 which took place at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada. This event marked the first time Bellator held an event outside the United States. In the featherweight tournament, Pat Curran defeated Marlon Sandro with a highlight reel head kick knockout in the finals at Bellator 48 to become the Bellator Summer Series Featherweight Tournament Champion. In addition to the featherweight tournament, Bellator also hosted a number of featured bouts, including Cole Konrad’s non-title win over Paul Buentello and Seth Petruzelli securing a knockout win over former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez at Bellator 48.
|Featherweight||Pat Curran||Marlon Sandro||Bellator 48|
Season Five: The Viacom Era
Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Five (September 10, 2011 - November 26, 2011)
Bellator’s fifth season, which began on September 10, 2011, continued to air on MTV2 in the United States as well as in HD on Epix. Bellator Tournaments for Season Five featured the bantamweight, welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight divisions. Additionally, Bellator announced that the preliminary cards for each event would air on Spike.com as well as Bellator’s Facebook page. In the tournament finals, Eduardo Dantas defeated Alexis Vila at Bellator 59 to become the Bellator Bantamweight Tournament Champion while Douglas Lima knocked out Ben Saunders at Bellator 57 to become the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Champion. Also, Alexander Shlemenko defeated Vitor Vianna at Bellator 57 to become the Bellator Middleweight Tournament Champion while the heavyweight final between Eric Prindle and Thiago Santos was ruled a no contest after an accidental groin kick left Prindle unable to continue. On October 26, 2011, Viacom, the parent company of MTV Networks, announced the purchase of a majority stake in Bellator. As part of the deal, Spike TV will begin broadcasting Bellator live in 2013. On November 7, 2011, in an effort to expand to outside markets, Bellator announced a five-year partnership with FremantleMedia that would allow the company to position itself as one of the premier MMA organizations internationally. On November 19, 2011, at Bellator 58, the company hosted what was called the best fight in the promotion's early history. Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez fought Season 4 Lightweight Tournament Champion Michael Chandler in a back-and-forth affair. In the end, Chandler defeated Alvarez via fourth round submission to become the new Bellator Lightweight Champion in a fight that several journalists called the fight of the year. Other memorable highlights from season five include Douglas Lima’s knockout victory over Chris Lozano at Bellator 53, Eric Prindle’s knockout win over Ron Sparks at Bellator 56, Vitor Vianna’s knockout of Bryan Baker at Bellator 54 and a pair of knockout victories by Alexis Vila and Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 51.
|Heavyweight||Eric Prindle||Thiago Santos||Bellator 62|
|Middleweight||Alexander Shlemenko||Vitor Vianna||Bellator 57|
|Welterweight||Douglas Lima||Ben Saunders||Bellator 57|
|Bantamweight||Eduardo Dantas||Alexis Vila||Bellator 59|
Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Six (March 9, 2012 - August 24, 2012)
Bellator’s sixth season began on March 9, 2012 with Bellator 60, when Pat Curran captured the Bellator Featherweight Championship after beating champion Joe Warren. At Bellator 64, Ben Askren defended his Welterweight title against Douglas Lima by unanimous decision. At Bellator 65, Eduardo Dantas defeated then champion Zach Makovsky to become the new Bellator Bantamweight Champion. At Bellator 70, Cole Konrad took down Eric Prindle in the first round to defend his Bellator Heavyweight Championship.
|Middleweight||Maiquel Falcão||Andreas Spang||Bellator 69|
|Welterweight||Karl Amoussou||Bryan Baker||Bellator 72|
|Lightweight||Rick Hawn||Brent Weedman||Bellator 70|
|Featherweight||Daniel Straus||Marlon Sandro||Bellator 68|
|Bantamweight||Marcos Galvao||Luis Nogueira||Bellator 73|
Summer Series 2012
Bellator Fighting Championships: 2012 Summer Series (June 22, 2012 - August 24, 2012)
In the summer of 2012, Bellator held its second Summer Series which would feature a Light Heavyweight tournament that would decide a challenger for reigning Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Christian M'Pumbu. The Summer Series started June 22, 2012 and was broadcast nationally on MTV2 for a total of three events. In the Light Heavyweight tournament, Attila Vegh defeated Travis Wiuff with a knockout in the finals at Bellator 73 to become the 2012 Bellator Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament Champion. In addition to the Light Heavyweight tournament, Bellator also hosted a number of featured bouts, including a third fight between Marius Zaromskis and Waachiim Spiritwolf at Bellator 72. Bellator also finished two Season Six tournaments with Karl Amoussou defeating Bryan Baker at Bellator 72 to become the Season Six Welterweight Champion, and Marcos Galvao defeating Luis Nogueira at Bellator 73 to become the Season Six Bantamweight Champion. Pat Curran was also set to defend his Featherweight Championship versus Patricio Friere, who is the Season Four Champion, at Bellator 73 but he was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury that occurred during training.
|Light Heavyweight||Attila Vegh||Travis Wiuff||Bellator 73|
Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Seven (September 28, 2012 - December 14, 2012)
Bellator’s seventh season began on September 28, 2012.
|Heavyweight||Alexander Volkov||Richard Hale||Bellator 84|
|Welterweight||Andrey Koreshkov||Lyman Good||Bellator 82|
|Lightweight||Dave Jansen||Marcin Held||Bellator 93|
|Featherweight||Shahbulat Shamhalaev||Rad Martinez||Bellator 90|
Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Eight (January 17, 2013 - April 4, 2013)
Bellator’s eighth season began on January 17, 2013.
|Light Heavyweight||Emanuel Newton||Mikhail Zayats||Bellator 94|
|Middleweight||Doug Marshall||Brett Cooper|
|Welterweight||Douglas Lima||Ben Saunders||Bellator 100|
|Lightweight||David Rickels||Saad Awad||Bellator 94|
|Featherweight||Frodo Khasbulaev||Mike Richman||Bellator 95|
Summer Series 2013
Bellator MMA: 2013 Summer Series (June 19, 2013 - July 31, 2013)
Bellator’s 2013 Summer Series began on June 19, 2013. All three of this season's tournaments were contested as four-man tournaments, as opposed to Bellator's standard eight-man tournament. The change in tournament size was necessary in order to hold multiple tournaments during the summer series' shortened season.
|Heavyweight||Vitaly Minakov||Ryan Martinez||Bellator 97|
|Light Heavyweight||Muhammed Lawal||Jacob Noe||Bellator 97|
|Bantamweight||Rafael Silva||Anthony Leone||Bellator 102|
Bellator MMA: Season Nine (September 7, 2013 - November 22, 2013)
Bellator’s Ninth season began on September 7, 2013. For this season the bantamweight and heavyweight tournaments were held as four-man tournaments, while all tournaments were the standard Bellator eight-man tournament.
|Heavyweight[a]||Cheick Kongo||Peter Graham||Bellator 107|
|Middleweight||Brennan Ward||Mikkel Parlo||Bellator 107|
|Welterweight||Rick Hawn||Ron Keslar||Bellator 109|
|Lightweight||Will Brooks||Alexander Sarnavskiy||Bellator 109|
|Featherweight||Patricio Freire||Justin Wilcox||Bellator 108|
|Bantamweight[a]||Joe Warren||Travis Marx||Bellator 107|
- Four-man Tournament
Bellator MMA: Season Ten (February 28, 2014 - May 17, 2014)
Bellator’s Tenth season began on February 28, 2014. For this season the middleweight and light heavyweight tournaments were held as four-man tournaments, while all tournaments were the standard Bellator eight-man tournament.
|Heavyweight||Alexander Volkov||Blagoy Ivanov||Bellator 120|
|Light Heavyweight[a]||Quinton Jackson||Muhammed Lawal||Bellator 120|
|Middleweight[a]||Brett Cooper||Brandon Halsey||Bellator 119|
|Lightweight||Patricky Freire||Marcin Held||Bellator 120|
|Featherweight||Daniel Weichel||Desmond Green||Bellator 119|
- Four-man Tournament
On February 5, 2013, Bellator and Spike TV held a press conference to announce the collaboration on an MMA based reality series titled Fight Master: Bellator MMA. The coaches and trainers for the series, which will feature 32 welterweight fighters, will be Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock, Greg Jackson, and Joe Warren. The 32 fighters will be competing for a spot in Bellator's welterweight tournament. The weekly series will culminate in a live season finale on Spike TV with the winner advancing into the fall welterweight tournament. It made its debut on Spike TV on June 19, 2013.
|Fight Master: Bellator MMA Season 1||November 2, 2013||Welterweight||Joe Riggs||Mike Bronzoulis|
The current rules for Bellator Fighting Championships were originally established by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board. The Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts that New Jersey established has been adopted in other states that regulate mixed martial arts, including Nevada, Louisiana, and California, and are the same as used by other mixed martial arts promotions in North America.
Bellator’s fights vary in length depending on whether a match is a championship fight or a non-championship fight. Championship fights are scheduled for five rounds while non-championship fights are scheduled for three rounds. All rounds are five minutes in length with a one minute rest period between rounds.
Bellator currently uses seven weight classes for men:
|Weight class name||Upper limit|
|in pounds (lb)||in kilograms (kg)|
Bellator has also held women’s bouts at the following weights:
- 115 pounds
- 125 pounds
- 135 pounds
- 145 pounds
Matches usually end via:
- Submission: a fighter clearly taps the mat or his opponent, or verbally submits. Also a technical submission may be called when a fighter either loses consciousness or is on the verge of serious injury while in a hold.
- Knockout: a fighter is put into a state of unconsciousness resulting from any legal strike.
- Technical Knockout (TKO): If the referee decides a fighter cannot continue, the fight is ruled as a technical knockout. Technical knockouts can be classified into three categories:
- referee stoppage (the referee ends the fight because one fighter is unable to intelligently defend himself)
- doctor stoppage (a ring side doctor decides that it is unsafe for the fighter to continue the bout due to excessive bleeding or physical injuries)
- corner stoppage (a fighter's cornerman signals defeat for their own fighter)
- Judges' Decision: Depending on scoring, a match may end as:
- unanimous decision (all three judges score a win for fighter A)
- majority decision (two judges score a win for fighter A, one judge scores a draw)
- split decision (two judges score a win for fighter A, one judge scores a win for fighter B)
- unanimous draw (all three judges score a draw)
- majority draw (two judges score a draw, one judge scoring a win)
- split draw (one judge scores a win for fighter A, one judge scores a win for fighter B, and one judge scores a draw)
Note: In the event of a draw, it is not necessary that the fighters' total points be equal. However, in a unanimous or split draw, each fighter does score an equal number of win judgments from the three judges (0 or 1, respectively). A fight can also end in a technical decision, technical submission, disqualification, forfeit, technical draw, or no contest. The latter two outcomes have no winners.
The ten-point must scoring system is in effect for all bouts in Bellator. Three judges score each round with the winner of each round getting 10 points while the loser gets 9 points or less. The only way that an even round can occur is if the fighter that won the round has a point deducted for a foul. Rounds scored 10-8 and 10-7 are typically scored when a fighter wins a round in dominant fashion.
The following is a list of fouls outlined by the states that regulate MMA, as established by the Nevada State Athletic Commission:
- Butting with the head
- Eye gouging of any kind
- Hair pulling
- Fish hooking
- Groin attacks of any kind
- Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent (see Fish-hooking)
- Small joint manipulation
- Striking to the spine or the back of the head (see Rabbit punch)
- Striking downward using the point of the elbow (see Elbow (strike))
- Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea
- Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh
- Grabbing the clavicle
- Kicking the head of a grounded opponent
- Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent
- Stomping a grounded opponent
- Kicking to the kidney with the heel
- Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck (see Piledriver)
- Throwing an opponent out of the ring or fenced area
- Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent
- Spitting at an opponent
- Engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent
- Holding the ropes or the fence
- Attacking an opponent on or during the break
- Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee
- Attacking an opponent after the bell (horn) has sounded the end of a round
- Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee
- Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury
- Interference by the corner
- Throwing in the towel during competition
When a foul is charged, the referee in their discretion may deduct one or more points as a penalty. If a foul incapacitates a fighter, then the match may end in a disqualification if the foul was intentional, or a no contest if unintentional. If a foul causes a fighter to be unable to continue later in the bout, it ends with a technical decision win to the injured fighter if the injured fighter is ahead on points, otherwise it is a technical draw.
During Bellator tournament bouts, the rules are slightly different from those of a non-tournament fight. Elbow strikes are illegal in the quarterfinal and semifinal tournament bouts due to the high probability of a cut occurring. Elbow strikes are legal in the finals. Though the final bout is a tournament championship, it is still three five-minute rounds since it is not a title fight.
|Division||Upper weight limit||Champion||Since||Title Defenses||Top Contender(s)||Next Fight|
(120 kg; 18.9 st)
|Vitaly Minakov||Bellator 108
November 15, 2013
|Light Heavyweight||205 lb
(93 kg; 14.6 st)
|Emanuel Newton||Bellator 113
March 21, 2014
(84 kg; 13.2 st)
|Alexander Shlemenko||Bellator 88
February 7, 2013
(77 kg; 12 st)
|Douglas Lima||Bellator 117
April 18, 2014
(70 kg; 11.1 st)
|Eddie Alvarez||Bellator 106
November 2, 2013
|0|| Michael Chandler
|Bellator 120 (vs. Chandler)|
(66 kg; 10.4 st)
|Pat Curran||Bellator 112
March 14, 2014
|0|| Patricio Freire
|Bellator 121 (vs. Freire)|
(61 kg; 9.6 st)
|Eduardo Dantas||Bellator 65
April 13, 2012
|2|| Rafael Silva
|Bellator 118 (vs Warren)|
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