Bellator MMA

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Bellator MMA
Type Private
Industry Mixed martial arts promotion
Founded 2008
Founder(s) Bjorn Rebney
Headquarters Newport Beach, California, United States
Key people Scott Coker, President
Parent Viacom[1]
Website http://www.bellator.com/

Bellator MMA (formerly known as Bellator Fighting Championships) is a mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the USA. Bellator was founded in 2008 by Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. Bellator features "The Toughest Tournament in Sports", which has a single-elimination format that awards the winner of each eight-person or four-person tournament a check for $100,000 and a guaranteed world title fight against the current Bellator world champion in the applicable weight class.

In December 2011, media giant Viacom acquired a majority stake of Bellator and in January 2013, all Bellator events began airing on Spike TV to Spike's 100 million home universe weekly. Bellator produces nearly 25 live events annually, as well as shoulder programming including fighter features, highlight shows and reality based programming.

In May 2014, Bellator hosted the company's inaugural pay-per-view event from the Lander's Center. The event featured a Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Final fight between Rampage Jackson and King Mo, Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks for the Lightweight Interim World Title, Alexander Shlemenko vs. Tito Ortiz, the Bellator Season 10 Heavyweight Tournament Final between Alexander Volkov vs. Blagoi Ivanov and a feature fight between Ricky Rainey vs. Michael Page.

Bellator's exponential growth has now exceeded 140 countries around the world, including Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, The United Kingdom, France, Russia, and several African nations.

The word "Bellator" means "warrior" in Latin.

Company Timeline[edit]

  • Sept. 2008 – Bellator was founded by Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney
  • Nov. 2008 – Bellator announces broadcast agreement with ESPN Deportes. Bellator becomes the first promoter to secure live MMA programming on any domestic platform on the ESPN family of networks
  • April 2009- Bellator 1 debuts on ESPN Deportes from Hollywood, Florida's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
  • May 2009- Toby Imada colleges incredible inverted triangle submission choke over Jorge Masvidal, creating a viral sensation on Youtube collecting over 1.5 million views
  • July 2009- Sports Illustrated calls Bellator "MMA's success story of the year"
  • Oct. 2009- Bellator announces large-scale agreement with Fox Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo for Bellator's Season 2 & 3
  • April 2010- Bellator Season 2 debuts on Fox Sports Net from Hollywood, Florida'a Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
  • Dec. 2010- Bellator announces U.S. language exclusive broadcast with MTV2, beginning in 2011
  • Mar. 2011- Bellator Season 4 debuts on MTV 2
  • Oct. 2011- Viacom purchases majority stake in Bellator and announces Bellator will move to Spike TV.
  • Nov. 2011- Nov. 19th Michael Chandler & Eddie Alvarez compete in the Lightweight World Title fight that is widely considered 2011's Fight of the Year
  • Aug. 2012- Bellator moves corporate offices from Chicago, IL to Newport Beach, CA
  • Jan. 2013- Bellator begins airing original shoulder programming including "Bellator 360"
  • Jan. 2013- Bellator Season 8 premieres Jan. 17 on Spike TV to over 1.2 million viewers
  • Feb. 2013- Bjorn Rebney and Spike President Kevin Kay jointly announce a new Bellator reality show, "Bellator MMA Fight Master"
  • Sept. 2013-Bellator 100 takes place from Phoenix's Grand Canyon University
  • Sept. 2013- Bellator signs multi-year partnership agreement with Fox Sports Latin America giving Bellator the largest MMA distribution deal in Latin America MMA history
  • Nov. 2013- Nov. 2nd Chandler vs. Alvarez II delivers 1.4 viewers on Spike TV and becomes the highest rated MMA TV show on cable during the fall of 2013
  • May 2014- Bellator's inaugural pay-per-view from the Lander's Center at Bellator 120
  • June 2014- Company announces that both Chairman/CEO Bjorn Rebney and President Tim Danaher have left the company.

Tournament format[edit]

Bellator follows a real sport tournament format, unlike other MMA promotions.

Bellator includes weight classes from bantamweight (135 pounds) through heavyweight (265 pounds) and tournaments in each weight class are conducted over a three month period. Each tournament begins with the opening round featuring eight fighters in that respective weight class, moving onto the semi-finals and then the finals. For four-man tournaments, only the semi-finals and finals are included. Each tournament is single elimination and there is a one month break between opening round, semi-finals and finals.

During the tournament 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. The tournament final is still a three five-minute rounds, since it is not a title fight.

Broadcast partners[edit]

Bellator airs live on Spike TV. Bellator debuted on Spike on January 17, 2013 and averaged 938,000 viewers. Additional exclusive Bellator content and Bellator shoulder programming airs on Spike TV.

On September 24th, 2013 Bellator announced its multi-partnership agreement with FOX Sports Latin America making Fox Sports the exclusive carrier of Bellator throughout the entirety of Latin America with a total distribution of more than 50 million households.

In February of 2014, Bellator aligned with OSN, the leading pay-TV network in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. OSN will begin airing Bellator events in 2014. Headquartered in Dubai Media City, UAE, OSN airs in both Arabic and English in high-definition throughout the region, operating five 24-hour sports channels.

Bellator also maintains a partnership with Russia 2, for the largest MMA broadcast alliance in Russian history. Bellator airs exclusively on Russia 2 throughout the country, introducing over 83 million Russian sports fans. Bellator broadcast partners also include; Viva in the United Kingdom, TENplay in Australia, and Celestial Tiger Entertainment throughout Asia.

Additional Bellator partners[edit]

Headquarters[edit]

Bellator moved its headquarters from Chicago, Ill., to Southern California in August of 2012. Bellator is located in Newport Beach, Calif., 40 miles south of the Spike TV headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif.

Bjorn Rebney[edit]

Bjorn Rebney is the founder and former chairman and CEO of Bellator MMA.

In September 2008 he secured the first exclusive MMA Television alliance with any member of the ESPN family of networks and completed its first Bellator season in June 2009. Earlier in his career, Rebney was founder, president and CEO of Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing (SRLB). He also served as the Director of West Coast Operations for Integrated Sports International, where he created strategic business development and sponsorship procurement programs and worked as the Director of Operations for Sports Promotion International, where he orchestrating international sports tours in which the (former) Soviet Union's championship basketball and soccer teams competed against top South American, Canadian and American teams.

A California native, Rebney was a full scholarship athlete (football) at Ohio University, receiving several scholar athlete awards throughout his collegiate career.

On June 18, 2014, it was announced by Spike TV that Rebney has parted ways with the company.[2] On the same day Strikeforce founder Scott Coker was announced as the new President of Bellator[3]

Notable names[edit]

Eddie Alvarez[edit]

Eddie Alvarez is the Bellator Lightweight Champion. Alvarez won his first lightweight title on June 19, 2009 at Bellator 12 against Toby Imada and his second lightweight title was won on Nov. 2, 2013 at Bellator 106 against Michael Chandler.Alvarez competed on the Bellator's inaugural event on April 3, 2009 and was later named the Bellator Season 1 Lightweight Tournament winner. Alvarez has a 25-3 professional record and was won 14 victories by KO and seven by submission. His sole Bellator loss came by Michael Chandler in a lightweight title fight at Bellator 58. Alvarez is tied for third for the most Bellator wins with nine.

Karo "The Heat" Parisyan[edit]

Karo Parisyan is an Armenian American mixed martial artist fighting in the Bellator Fighting Championships. Parisyan is a former WEC Welterweight Champion and a former UFC fighter. He made his Bellator debut at Bellator 95 against Rick Hawn, where he lost by TKO. He bounced back to a victory at Bellator 116 by getting back to back technical knockouts of his own against Ron Keslar and Phil Baroni at Bellator 122.

Will Brooks[edit]

Will Brooks is a Bellator Interim Lightweight Champion and one of the top lightweight prospects in MMA. Brooks was made his professional MMA debut in January of 2011 and holds a 14-1 professional record. He was named the Bellator Season 9 Lightweight Tournament winner after defeating Tiger Sarnavskiy at Bellator 109. Brooks earned his interim world title after defeating Michael Chandler on May 17th live on pay-per-view at Bellator 120.

Michael Chandler[edit]

Michael Chandler is a former Bellator Lightweight Champion. Chandler was the Bellator Season 4 Lightweight Tournament winner and defeated Eddie Alvarez on Nov. 19, 2011 to win the Bellator Lightweight World title. He held the lightweight title for over two years and defended his title twice during his reign, before losing to Eddie Alvarez in their second meeting on Nov. 2, 2013 at Bellator 106. A former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler at Missouri, Chandler has a 12-2 professional record with 10 wins by KO or submission. Chandler ranks in the top-three for most Bellator wins with nine and is tied for the longest Bellator win-streak with eight victories. He was named the 2011 breakthrough fighter of the year and is currently ranked in the top-five lightweights in the world.

Pat Curran[edit]

Pat Curran is the Bellator Featherweight Champion. Curran is a two-time featherweight champion after defeating Joe Warren at Bellator 60 and most recently defeating Daniel Straus at Bellator 112 for his second reign. Curran is the first Bellator fighter to win tournaments in two different weight classes (Bellator Featherweight 2011 Summer Series, Bellator Season 2 Lightweight Tournament). He has a professional record of 20-5 with five wins coming by knockout and seven submission wins. Curran ties for first with most Bellator fights (12) and second for most Bellator wins, recording 10. He has fought in six Bellator title fights, holds the second place spot for most time spent in the Bellator cage (2:54.39) and is tied for third for most Bellator title defenses, defending his belt three times.

Eduardo Dantas[edit]

Eduardo Dantas is the Bellator Bantamweight Champion. Dantas defeated Zach Makovsky at Bellator 65 to win the Bellator Bantamweight title. He has held the title reign since 2012 and has successfully defended his title twice, with victories over Marcos Galvao and Anthony Leone. Dantas was the Season 5 Bellator Bantamweight Tournament winner and was also named the South American Shooto Champion, Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Champion and Brazilian Amateur Boxing Champion. Dantas has a 16-3 professional record and is ranked in the top-three in bantamweight fighters.

Marcin Held[edit]

Marcin Held is a Bellator lightweight fighter and has a 19-3 professional record. At only 22 years of age, Held has compiled a 8-2 Bellator record and was a Season 7 and Season 10 Lightweight Tournament finalist. Widely regarded at the "The Prodigy of Polish MMA," Held is known for his strong submission skills and has recorded 11 victories by submission. He is the youngest fighter to win a Bellator fight after defeating Phillipe Nover Bellator 59 on Nov. 29, 2011 at age 19.

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson[edit]

Rampage Jackson is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and is now partnered with Bellator MMA, Spike TV and TNA Wrestling. Jackson made his Bellator debut at Bellator 108 on Nov. 15, 2013 against Joey Beltran, winning by first round TKO. Jackson holds a 35-11 professional record, including 16 knockouts and seven submissions. He has a 3-0 Bellator record with two wins coming by first round TKO.

Cheick Kongo[edit]

Cheick Kongo is a 18-time UFC fighter and now fights for Bellator MMA. Kongo made his Bellator debut on Oct. 4, 2012 defeating Mark Godbeer by TKO at Bellator 102. He was named the Bellator Season 9 Heavyweight Tournament winner at Bellator 107 after beating Peter Graham by unanimous decision. Kongo has a 21-9 professional record with 12 wins by knockout, six coming the first round.

Douglas Lima[edit]

Douglas Lima is the Bellator Welterweight Champion. He earned is Bellator Welterweight title after defeating Rick Hawn by TKO (doctor stoppage) on April 18th at Bellator 117. Lima was the Bellator Season 5 and Season 8 Welterweight Tournament winner. He has a 26-5 professional record with 23 victories coming by knockout or submission. Lima has won five-consecutive fights with his sole Bellator loss coming from Ben Askren.

Vitaly Minakov[edit]

Vitaly Minakov is the Bellator Heavyweight Champion. He has an undefeated 14-0 professional record with 12 wins coming by KO or submission. A four-time Sambo World Champion, Minakov was also named the Russian Junior Judo National Champion. He made his Bellator debut Nov. 2. 2012 and later won the Bellator 2013 Summer Series Heavyweight Tournament. Minakov defeated Alexander Volkov by first round knockout at Bellator 108 to claim his heavyweight world title. He has defended his title one time, defeating Cheick Kongo at Bellator 115.

Emanuel Newton[edit]

Emanuel Newton is the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Champion. Newton made his professional debut in Nov. 2003 and holds a 23-7-1 professional record and a 6-1 Bellator record. The Season 8 Light Heavyweight Tournament winner defeated King Mo to win the Interim Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship on November 2, 2013 at Bellator 106. Newton won the undisputed world title after defeating Attila Vegh at Bellator 113 on March 21, 2014.

Patricio Pitbull[edit]

Patricio Pitbull is a Bellator featherweight fighter and is ranked in the top-10 featherweights in the world. He has a 21-2 professional record with his sole two losses coming from current Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran and Bellator Interim Bantamweight Champion Joe Warren. Pitbull was the Season 4 and Season 9 Featherweight Tournament winner and a Season 2 Featherweight Tournament finalist. He ranks second in the most Bellator wins in a calendar year with four victories in 2014 and is tied for third for most Bellator wins with nine.

Patricky Pitbull[edit]

Patricky Pitbull is a Bellator lightweight fighter with a 13-5 professional record. He is a Season 4 and Season 10 lightweight tournament finalist. Known for his strong striking, Pitbull has recorded nine of his 13 victories by knockout. He is a seven-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu state champion and a kickboxing state champion. Patricky is the older of the two "Pitbull Brothers."

Alexander Shlemenko[edit]

Alexander Shlemenko is the Bellator Middleweight Champion. Shlemenko defeated Maiquel Falcao at Bellator 88 to win the middleweight world title and has successfully defended his belt three times. Shlemenko was the Bellator Season 2 and Season 5 Middleweight Tournament winner. He has a 50-8 professional record with 29 knockouts and eight submission wins. Shlemenko has won 13-consequtive fights and ranks in the top-eight middleweights in the world. He has recorded the most Bellator wins with 12 and ranks second in Bellator history with the most Bellator title defenses (3) and longest Bellator win-streak with eight-straight victories.

Daniel Straus[edit]

Daniel Straus is a former Bellator Featherweight Champion. Straus was the Bellator Season 6 Featherweight Tournament winner and defeated Pat Curran at Bellator 106 to win the Bellator Featherweight World Title. In a rematch against Curran at Bellator 112, Straus was defeated via submission in the fifth round. Straus holds a 22-2 professional record and is 8-2 in Bellator.

Joe Warren[edit]

Joe Warren is the Bellator Interim Bantamweight World Champion. He won the interim Bantamweight title after defeating Rafael Silva by unanimous decision at Bellator 118. Warren is the only Bellator fighter to have won a world title in two different weight classes after winning a bantamweight and featherweight world title. With a 11-3 professional record, Warren is tied for third with the most Bellator wins (9) and was named the Season 9 Bantamweight Tournament winner and the Season 2 Featherweight Tournament winner. Warren is a former Greco Roman World Wrestling Champion and was a 2000 NCAA Division I All-American wrestler at Michigan.

History[edit]

Season One[edit]

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[4] 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.[5] In addition, Eddie Alvarez defeated Toby Imada to win the Bellator Lightweight Belt[6] while Joe Soto defeated Yahir Reyes to become the Bellator Featherweight Champion.[7] Color commentary for Bellator's first season was provided by Jon Anik and Jason Chambers.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Middleweight Cuba Hector Lombard United States Jared Hess Bellator 12
Welterweight United States Lyman Good Dominican Republic Omar De La Cruz Bellator 11
Lightweight United States Eddie Alvarez United States Toby Imada Bellator 12
Featherweight United States Joe Soto Mexico Yahir Reyes Bellator 10

Season Two[edit]

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.[8] 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[9] while Ben Askren defeated Dan Hornbuckle to win the 170 lb tournament.[10] Also, Pat Curran defeated Toby Imada to win the lightweight tournament[11] and Joe Warren (fighter) defeated Patricio Pitbull to become the Featherweight Tournament Champion.[12] 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.[13] Also, Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez submitted Josh Neer in a catch weight bout at Bellator 17[14] and Joe Soto scored a technical knockout victory over Diego Saraiva in a featherweight bout at Bellator 19.[15] 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.[16]

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Middleweight Russia Alexander Shlemenko United States Bryan Baker Bellator 23
Welterweight United States Ben Askren United States Dan Hornbuckle Bellator 22
Lightweight United States Pat Curran United States Toby Imada Bellator 21
Featherweight United States Joe Warren Brazil Patricio Freire Bellator 23

Season Three[edit]

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.[17] Zoila Gurgel became the first Bellator Women's Champion when she defeated Megumi Fujii at Bellator 34.[18] 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.[19] Other championship fights featured during season 3 were Hector Lombard retaining his Bellator middleweight championship by defeating Season 2 Tournament Winner, Alexander Shlemenko[20] and Season 2 Welterweight Tournament Champion, Ben Askren, defeating reigning champion Lyman Good to become the new Bellator Welterweight Champion.[21] 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[22] and Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard's 38 second knockout of Herbert Goodman at Bellator 24.[23]

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Heavyweight United States Cole Konrad South Africa Neil Grove Bellator 32
Bantamweight United States Zach Makovsky United States Ed West Bellator 32
Women's Strawweight (115 lbs.) United States Zoila Gurgel Japan Megumi Fujii Bellator 34

Season Four –The MTV2 Partnership[edit]

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.[24] 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[25] while Christian M'Pumbu defeated Richard Hale (fighter) the same night to become the first Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion in history.[26] Also, Michael Chandler became the Bellator Season 4 Lightweight Tournament Champion when he defeated Patricky "Pitbull" at Bellator 44[27] while Jay Hieron booked a welterweight title shot by defeating Rick Hawn in the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Championship at Bellator 43.[28] Some of the memorable highlights from Bellator's fourth season include Ben Saunders earning a TKO victory over Matt Lee in his Bellator debut,[29] Richard Hale's inverted triangle choke over Nik Fekete at Bellator 38,[30] a flying knee knockout by Patricky "Pitbull" over Toby Imada at Bellator 39[31] and Hector Lombard's one punch knockout of Falaniko Vitale at Bellator 44.[32] Hale and Pitbull were, respectively, nominated for the 2011 World MMA Awards submission of the year and knockout of the year.[33]

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Light Heavyweight France Christian M'Pumbu United States Richard Hale Bellator 45
Welterweight United States Jay Hieron United States Rick Hawn Bellator 43
Lightweight United States Michael Chandler Brazil Patricky Freire Bellator 44
Featherweight Brazil Patricio Freire United States Daniel Straus Bellator 45

Summer Series 2011[edit]

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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[36]

  • Winner:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Featherweight United States Pat Curran Brazil Marlon Sandro Bellator 48

Season Five: The Viacom Era[edit]

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.[37] In the tournament finals, Eduardo Dantas defeated Alexis Vila at Bellator 59 to become the Bellator Bantamweight Tournament Champion[38] while Douglas Lima knocked out Ben Saunders at Bellator 57 to become the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Champion.[39] Also, Alexander Shlemenko defeated Vitor Vianna at Bellator 57 to become the Bellator Middleweight Tournament Champion[40] 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.[41] On October 26, 2011, Viacom, the parent company of MTV Networks, announced the purchase of a majority stake in Bellator.[42] As part of the deal, Spike TV will begin broadcasting Bellator live in 2013.[43] 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.[44] On November 19, 2011, at Bellator 58, the company hosted what was called the best fight in the promotion's early history.[45] 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.[46][47] Other memorable highlights from season five include Douglas Lima's knockout victory over Chris Lozano at Bellator 53,[48] 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.[49]

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Heavyweight United States Eric Prindle Brazil Thiago Santos Bellator 62
Middleweight Russia Alexander Shlemenko Brazil Vitor Vianna Bellator 57
Welterweight Brazil Douglas Lima United States Ben Saunders Bellator 57
Bantamweight Brazil Eduardo Dantas Cuba Alexis Vila Bellator 59

Season Six[edit]

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.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Middleweight Brazil Maiquel Falcão Sweden Andreas Spang Bellator 69
Welterweight France Karl Amoussou United States Bryan Baker Bellator 72
Lightweight United States Rick Hawn United States Brent Weedman Bellator 70
Featherweight United States Daniel Straus Brazil Marlon Sandro Bellator 68
Bantamweight Brazil Marcos Galvao Brazil Luis Nogueira Bellator 73

Summer Series 2012[edit]

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.

  • Winner:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Light Heavyweight Slovakia Attila Vegh United States Travis Wiuff Bellator 73

Season Seven[edit]

Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Seven (September 28, 2012 - December 14, 2012)

Bellator's seventh season began on September 28, 2012 with Bellator 74 . The season showcased a heavyweight, welterweight, lightweight and featherweight tournament.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Heavyweight Russia Alexander Volkov United States Richard Hale Bellator 84
Welterweight Russia Andrey Koreshkov United States Lyman Good Bellator 82
Lightweight United States Dave Jansen Poland Marcin Held Bellator 93
Featherweight Russia Shahbulat Shamhalaev United States Rad Martinez Bellator 90

Season Eight[edit]

Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Eight (January 17, 2013 - April 4, 2013)

Bellator's eighth season began on January 17, 2013 at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif. The event served as Bellator's premier on Spike TV. Season Eight included featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight tournaments.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Light Heavyweight United States Emanuel Newton Russia Mikhail Zayats Bellator 94
Middleweight United States Doug Marshall United States Brett Cooper

Bellator 95

Welterweight Brazil Douglas Lima United States Ben Saunders Bellator 100
Lightweight United States David Rickels United States Saad Awad Bellator 94
Featherweight Russia Frodo Khasbulaev United States Mike Richman Bellator 95

Summer Series 2013[edit]

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.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Heavyweight Russia Vitaly Minakov United States Ryan Martinez Bellator 97
Light Heavyweight United States Muhammed Lawal United States Jacob Noe Bellator 97
Bantamweight Brazil Rafael Silva United States Anthony Leone Bellator 102

Season Nine[edit]

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.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Heavyweight[a] France Cheick Kongo Australia Peter Graham Bellator 107
Middleweight United States Brennan Ward Denmark Mikkel Parlo Bellator 107
Welterweight United States Rick Hawn United States Ron Keslar Bellator 109
Lightweight United States Will Brooks Russia Alexander Sarnavskiy Bellator 109
Featherweight Brazil Patricio Freire United States Justin Wilcox Bellator 108
Bantamweight[a] United States Joe Warren United States Travis Marx Bellator 107
  1. ^ a b Four-man Tournament

Season Ten[edit]

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.

Weight Division Champion Runnerup Event
Heavyweight Russia Alexander Volkov Bulgaria Blagoy Ivanov Bellator 120
Light Heavyweight United States Quinton Jackson United States Muhammed Lawal Bellator 120
Featherweight Germany Daniel Weichel United States Desmond Green Bellator 119
Middleweight United States Brandon Halsey United States Brett Cooper Bellator 122
Welterweight Russia Andrey Koreshkov United States Adam McDonough Bellator 122
Weight Division Finalist Finalist Event
Lightweight Brazil Patricky Freire Poland Marcin Held

Summer Series 2014[edit]

Bellator MMA: 2014 Summer Series (June 6, 2014 - July 25, 2014)

Bellator's 2014 Summer Series will begin on June 6, 2014. The 2014 Summer Series will feature an eight-man light heavyweight tournament and a series of Season 10 tournament finals.

Weight Division Finalist Finalist Event
Light Heavyweight EnglandLiam McGeary United StatesKelly Anundson
Weight Division Champion Runnerup Event
Middleweight United States Brandon Halsey United States Brett Cooper Bellator 122
Welterweight Russia Andrey Koreshkov United States Adam McDonough Bellator 122

Reality show[edit]

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.[50] 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.[51]

Fight Master[edit]

Season Date Weight class Winner Runner-up
Fight Master: Bellator MMA Season 1 November 2, 2013 Welterweight United States Joe Riggs United States Mike Bronzoulis

Rules[edit]

Bellator Fighting Championships follows the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which were first established in April of 2000. The Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts have been adopted by every state athletic commission that holds mixed martial arts events throughout the United States.

Under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts there are no groin strikes, eye gouging, kicking or kneeing a grounded opponent, downward elbows, strikes to the back of the head, head butting, biting, or grabbing the fence. Upon a violation of the rules, referee can either warn the fighter, take a point away, or disqualify the fighter depending upon the regularity and severity of the foul.

Rounds[edit]

All non-world championship fights in Bellator consist of three, five-minute rounds, with one-minute rest periods between rounds. All world championship fights in Bellator consist of five, five-minute rounds, with one-minute rest periods between rounds.

Weight divisions[edit]

Bellator currently uses seven weight classes for men:

Weight class name Upper limit
in pounds (lb) in kilograms (kg)
Bantamweight 135 61.2
Featherweight 145 65.8
Lightweight 155 70.3
Welterweight 170 77.1
Middleweight 185 83.9
Light Heavyweight 205 93.0
Heavyweight 265 120.2

Bellator has also held women's bouts at the following weights:

  • 115 pounds
  • 125 pounds
  • 135 pounds
  • 145 pounds

Match outcome[edit]

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.

Fouls[edit]

The following is a list of fouls outlined by the states that regulate MMA, as established by the Nevada State Athletic Commission:[52]

  1. Butting with the head
  2. Eye gouging of any kind
  3. Biting
  4. Hair pulling
  5. Fish hooking
  6. Groin attacks of any kind
  7. Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent (see Fish-hooking)
  8. Small joint manipulation
  9. Striking to the spine or the back of the head (see Rabbit punch)
  10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow (see Elbow (strike))
  11. Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea
  12. Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh
  13. Grabbing the clavicle
  14. Kicking the head of a grounded opponent
  15. Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent
  16. Stomping a grounded opponent
  17. Kicking to the kidney with the heel
  18. Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck (see Piledriver)
  19. Throwing an opponent out of the ring or fenced area
  20. Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent
  21. Spitting at an opponent
  22. Engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent
  23. Holding the ropes or the fence
  24. Attacking an opponent on or during the break
  25. Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee
  26. Attacking an opponent after the bell (horn) has sounded the end of a round
  27. Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee
  28. Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury
  29. Interference by the corner
  30. 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.

Tournament rules[edit]

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.

Bellator events[edit]

Current champions[edit]

Division Upper weight limit Champion Since Title defenses
Heavyweight 265 lb (120 kg; 18.9 st) Russia Vitaly Minakov November 15, 2013 (Bellator 108) 1
Light Heavyweight 205 lb (93 kg; 14.6 st) United States Emanuel Newton March 21, 2014 (Bellator 113) 0
Middleweight 185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st) Russia Alexander Shlemenko February 7, 2013 (Bellator 88) 3
Welterweight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st) Brazil Douglas Lima April 18, 2014 (Bellator 117) 0
Lightweight 155 lb (70 kg; 11.1 st) United States Will Brooks August 19, 2014 0
Featherweight 145 lb (66 kg; 10.4 st) United States Pat Curran March 14, 2014 (Bellator 112) 0
Bantamweight 135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st) Brazil Eduardo Dantas
United States Joe Warren (Interim)
April 13, 2012 (Bellator 65)
May 2, 2014 (Bellator 118)
2
0

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]