Bellator MMA is going all in for the Grand Prix tournaments.
Following a successful heavyweight Grand Prix that crowned a new champion in Ryan Bader, Bellator is currently in the middle of the welterweight Grand Prix with a marquee fight between Paul Daley and Michael ‘Venom’ Page scheduled this weekend.
The two Grand Prix tournaments that Bellator have done so far have been hugely successful for the promotion according to president Scott Coker and that’s why he’s planning on holding at least one per year going forward.
“Tournaments work,” Coker said on Wednesday. “The heavyweight tournament proved that the single elimination tournament, and that’s kind of what martial arts was based off of, right? When I grew up doing martial arts, you went to a karate tournament and then you just fought all day until there was nobody left. Wrestling, football, baseball, basketball, soccer, Olympics, it’s the same thing. Single elimination, sudden death type events really work.
“This was a great piece of business for Paramount for the heavyweight tournament and welterweight’s doing extremely well. We’re going to continue at least once a year doing one weight class.”
Coker also teased plans already in the works for the next Grand Prix tournament in Bellator but he stopped short of announcing the weight class where it would take place.
He did reveal that it would be a lower weight class, which for the men’s divisions would mean lightweight, featherweight or bantamweight.
“Absolutley, for sure,” Coker confirmed when asked about the next Grand Prix tournament already in the works . “I won’t tell you what weight but you guys can probably figure it out. Think smaller, that’s all.”
The bantamweight division might make the most natural choice with a potential crossover with RIZIN after Kyoji Horiguchi defeated Bellator champion Darrion Caldwell in Japan not to mention a deep roster of potential fighters to fill those slots.
Right now, Coker is keeping his cards close to the vest regarding the next Bellator Grand Prix tournament but it appears an announcement could be coming sooner rather than later based on his current comments.