Posts Tagged ‘Bellator’

Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting/Mike Bohn MMAMania

Six-fight UFC veteran Diego Nunes has signed a deal with Bellator MMA and will likely make his organizational debut later this year.

After a sudden release from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) earlier this year, featherweight Diego Nunes has found a new home, recently inking a deal with rival promotion Bellator MMA.

Brazilian outlet Ataque Total first reported the news on Saturday (June 7, 2013) and sources close to Bellator MMA later confirmed the signing of the 145-pound fighter.

It wasn’t all that long ago when Nunes (18-4) was fighting Kenny Florian for the right to be the No. 1 contender in the featherweight division, and less than two years later he was booted from the promotion after just one loss in a row to Nik Lentz.

While “The Gun” was once known as one of the best featherweight fighters in the planet with career wins over Mike Brown, Raphael Assuncao, Manny Gamburyan and Bart Palaszewski, the 30-year-old was consistently unable to finish any opponents at the highest level of the sport.

In 11 appearances under ZUFFA-owned promotions UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), Nunes fought to a decision each and every time he stepped in the cage.

With an 145-pound weight class that is thin on contenders, Nunes would make for a great challenger to Bellator MMA champion Pat Curran if he is able to make it through the tournament format and earn a title shot.

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Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE/Steph Daniels Bloody Elbow

Former UFC lightweight, John Alessio discusses his new deal with Bellator, his decision to leave Xtreme Couture, his personal kryptonite, battle with depression and his new business venture in this exclusive interview.

Achieving a career dream is a tough challenge, but with diligence, hard work and perseverance, it can be done. In mixed martial arts, the pinnacle is the UFC, however, once you get inside the Zuffa family, maintaining your foothold within the organization can present a daunting task. Performance is key, and winning is everything. For those who find themselves in the unenviable position of being on the “Exit” side of the revolving door, there are options that are financially beneficial, as well as giving a similar advantage of TV visibility.

Bellator is rapidly making it’s mark as a powerhouse in MMA, and has bolstered their roster with some talented athletes, both well known and fresh to the scene. While in the past, their public stance has been adverse to hiring former UFC fighters, it would appear that they have relaxed their hiring protocols recently, and have recruited several former octagon stars, with former UFC lightweight, John Alessio being their latest acquirement. I recently sat down with John, and got his thoughts on his new contract, leaving Xtreme Couture, his personal kryptonite and his new business venture. Here’s what he had to say:

Stephie Daniels: In light of the situation with Eddie Alvarez, do you enter this contract a bit more cautiously and thoughtfully?

John Alessio: Ya know, there’s problems with every organization. You could say bad things about the UFC, you could say bad things about any show out there. It’s a long contract, so I’m definitely tied up for a long time, but at this point in my career, I want a home. I want to be able to have an organization to help build me up and give me a place to fight. I hope that I get used in the right way and get the right match-ups, so I can put on exciting fights for the crowd.

Different people have different problems, but for me, as of right now, Bellator has been really great, and I have nothing to say except that. I don’t know all the situations that are going on with them, but I have received a few bad tweets warning me to be careful, this and that, but honestly, I’m not that worried about it. At this point, I’m not going back to the UFC. I’m home at Bellator, and I’m here to stay.

Stephie Daniels: You mentioned that you’re locked down for a long time. How many fights are you contracted for?

John Alessio: It’s not necessarily a “per fight” deal, as my understanding of it when it got broken down by my manager. It’s more in a performance based way, which they don’t do as much cutting as the UFC does, you know, if you lose you get cut, or whatever. It’s different pay scales and things and the tournament is obviously three fights to win, and I could go on after that if I win, and fight Chandler for the belt. If I win the tournament, then my contract extends, if I beat Chandler my contract extends – things like that, so it’s not exactly a “per fight” deal. It’s kind of complicated [laughs].

Stephie Daniels: You’ve fought at both lightweight and welterweight, but have stayed at 155 for quite some time. Do you ever see yourself changing weight classes again?

John Alessio: I’m contracted to do the lightweight tournament, but with the right challenge, opponent and payday, I’ll fight at 185. I’ll fight at 205 [laughs]. I’ve got that old school mentality, to me it’s just a man standing across the ring from me. If the right opportunity pops up, and if Bjorn Rebney and Bellator need somebody to step up, then I hope they don’t hesitate to call me.

Stephie Daniels: Recently, John Cholish went public with details of fighter pay that are on the entry level scale or lower tier scale. What are your thoughts on UFC pay?

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Bellator MMA/Jesse Holland MMAMania

Mr. Rebney, don’t make Seth Petruzelli angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight hopeful and flamboyant Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 2 standout, Seth Petruzelli, has a habit of punishing mixed martial arts (MMA) promotions for trying to use him as a stepping stone for its future champions.

Just ask Kimbo Slice.

“The Silverback” (14-7) has recently found himself in the path of Bellator MMA star Muhammed Lawal, in what promises to be a make-or-break fight for “King Mo” at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma on June 19, 2013.

After his unceremonious exit from Strikeforce (because of this), Lawal (9-2) was quickly scooped up by the gang at Spike TV in a much-ballyhooed television deal that would see his duties split between Bellator MMA and TNA Impact! Wrestling.

Unfortunately, he came up short in his first fight, falling to Emanuel Newton back in February.

“Mo” will get a second shot at a 205-pound title run next month in “The Sooner State,” but Petruzelli tells Jack Brown he intends to “f–k those plans up” by defeating the former Division 1 All-American Wrestler and carving out his own path to the title.

“I’m not an idiot. I know Bellator is trying to get Mo as their champ. I swear I’m gonna do everything in my power to f— up their plans for that! That has been my driving force. I’m being overlooked and it pisses me off. No other comment. Next question!”

Petruzelli had some problems of his own in his Bellator debut, getting stopped by Jacob Noe last January in California.

Both fighters are coming off a loss; however, the stakes are a bit higher for Lawal, who commanded a hefty payday for his free-agent services and now needs to make good on Viacom’s investment. It may prove challenging to market him as a pro wrestler if he’s unable to secure a win as an MMA fighter.

Not that it stopped Brock Lesnar.

 Copyright: Martin McNeil/MMAMAnia

Three of the top free agent British fighters are expected to debut with Bellator this fall on Spike TV.

Newport Beach, CA. (May 22, 2013) – After a scouting expedition that took Bellator Talent Development Director and former MMA fighter Zach Light throughout the United Kingdom, Bellator has added three English standouts to the roster as Martin Stapleton, Rob Sinclair and Paul Sass have all signed long-term promotional agreements with Bellator MMA.

“Our talent development team does the best job in MMA by bringing hugely talented fighters to Bellator from around the globe,” Bellator CEO and Chairman Bjorn Rebney said. “The number one question I get from fans is ‘when will a UK television deal be completed with Bellator?’ With these three signings, along with a roster already featuring the likes of Paul “Semtex” Daley, Ronnie Mann and Michael Page, we are setting the table for making Bellator an every week televised occurrence in the UK.”

Only 24, Sass joins Bellator sporting an impress 13-2 record including victories over Jacob Volkmann and Michael Johnson. Training under the tutelage of Luta Livre master Marcelo Brigadeiro in Liverpool, Sass will be featured prominently with Bellator over the coming months, including a possible tournament appearance in 2014.

“I’m incredibly excited to get the chance to compete with Bellator,” Sass said. “After meeting with their staff and having a clear understanding of what’s next, I can’t wait to get into the cage and get into my first tournament.”

Armed with a devastating arsenal of knockout power, Rob Sinclair isn’t willing to waste any more time. At 33, Sinclair has done everything and more in the UK, compiling a 12-2 record that includes 10 finishes over his seven year professional career. Remarkably, Sinclair has never trained full time, instead working as an engineer to provide for his family Manchester. After meeting with the Bellator staff, it was obvious to Sinclar it was now or never.

“This is something I’ve wanted for a long time, but the timing has just never been right,” Sinclair said. “After meeting with Bellator and talking to guys like Paul Daley and Ronnie Mann, it really seemed like the perfect fit. This chance with Bellator will give me the opportunity to fully train and prepare for fight like I should, and with a full camp in place, the lightweights in Bellator better be on notice.”

Stapleton opened eyes recently after winning an eight man, one night tournament held in England last December. It put Stapleton back on the map after three years of duty with the Royal Marine Commando Unit forced the man they call “.50 Cal” away from the cage. Back and ready for a long tournament run, Stapleton is eager to get his Bellator career started.

“This is an awesome opportunity for me to get a chance to show the world what I’m capable of, and not to sleep on a guy like me,” Stapleton said. “I’ve worked my ass off over the last few years for this exact opportunity, and I’m not going to let it get away from me. The lightweight division in Bellator is stacked, and it just got a little deeper with me.”

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The CEO of mixed martial arts’ second-most important organization fired back at claims made by former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez that Bellator changed his contractual language and are using him as a pawn in a war with the UFC.

From a public relations standpoint, it’s been a rough week for the world’s number two mixed martial arts organization and its CEO Bjorn Rebney. Former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez made a series of explosive claims in an interview with Ariel Helwani on Monday’s The MMA Hour. Among others, Alvarez contended Rebney had little say in the dispute, that Bellator had changed his contractual language without his knowledge or consent, and much more.

On Twitter in the days leading up to the interview, Alvarez further asserted on Twitter Bellator malfeasance caused Cosmo Alexandre to be financially destitute and former Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky to be paid less than what was contractually agreed upon with Bellator.

Last, but certainly not least, former UFC featherweight Leonard Garcia claimed he was offered a deal by Bellator after being released by the UFC this week, but wasn’t interested in accepting it based on what he’d heard from the plights of the aforementioned fighters.

To Rebney, these contentions come as something of a shock. More importantly, Rebney argues they’re a series of claims that aren’t just untrue by word, but demonstrably false.

In this interview with MMA Fighting, Rebney outright challenges the truth of Alvarez’s statements about Viacom and Bellator, reasserts his role as the organization’s decision maker, and much more.

Full audio (mp3 is available)

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Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

In the midst of a very ugly breakup with Eddie Alvarez, long the promotion’s biggest star, the statements and actions of three fighters say a lot about where Bellator stands in the MMA world today. Muhammed ‘King Mo‘ Lawal, the one man Spike TV hype bubble, the troubled Paul Daley and UFC washout Leonard Garcia give three telling perspectives on the promotion.

Bellator, America’s #2 mixed martial arts promotion, doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo about being #2 means you need to try harder. They are currently embroiled in a very public and very ugly legal battle with Eddie Alvarez, that is doing significant damage to their image with MMA fans and fighters.

In its five year run, Bellator has established a reputation as a promotion that can put on a lot of great fights with an easy regularity. It’s also established a reputation as a promotion that will not hesitate to run over fighters every time it contractually can, happily holding fighters hostage and wasting precious years of their athletic primes, frequently when they have no intention of even using those fighters.

The list goes way beyond just Eddie Alvarez. Fighters as varied as Dave “Pee Wee” Herman, Ultimate Fighter finalist Jonathan Brookins, Tyson Nam, and former Bellator Bantamweight champ Zach Makovsky all have spoken publicly about their bad experiences with the promotion.

In this context I thought it was interesting to see what Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal had to say. For those who’ve forgotten, King Mo is the fighter that Spike TV, Bellator and TNA Wrestling all staked high hopes and a LOT of hype in before their most recent season.

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32 welterweights will battle for a spot in the Bellator MMA Tournament as well as a $100,000 prize under the tutelage of “Fight Master” coaches Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock, and Joe Warren. Series premieres on Wednesday, June 19 at 10 p.m. ET on Spike TV.

Spike TV has finally announced the welterweight cast for its debut season of “Fight Master,” which includes Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Joe Riggs among the 32 contestants vying for a spot in the upcoming Bellator 170-pound tournament.

Along with a cool $100,000 payday.

Bellator’s “Fight Master,” which has evolved from Spike TV’s original Ultimate Fighter (TUF) combat sports reality show (now on FX), will be coached by mixed martial arts (MMA) notables Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock, and Joe Warren.

This is who they’ll be instructing.

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Esther Lin via allelbows.com

It would appear that notable heavyweight Brett ‘Da Grim’ Rogers has been released from his Bellator contract and will have an upcoming bout in Korea.

Brett Rogers has had a sordid history with MMA, both in and out of the cage. Once a surprising blue-collar prospect in Strikeforce, he gained a groundswell of fan support with his story of working in the garage at Sam’s Club, changing tires, all the way to a heavyweight title shot. However, that early support, and success was short lived.

Losses to Fedor Emilianenko and Alister Overeem, coupled with a troubling domestic violence incident (to which Rogers would eventually plead guilty and serve a 60 day jail term) saw his star quickly fade. Combat sports are a forgiving profession, however, and Rogers soon found himself with a second chance at an MMA career fighting in Bellator. It now appears that that second chance is over.

Following a 1–1 stint with the promotion, that saw him lose most recently to current heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov, it would appear that Rogers has been released from his Bellator contract. His profile has been removed from their website, and when asked about his next fight Rogers posted the following messages on his Twitter account:

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