Bellator makes rule change

June 12, 2014

Bellator announced that it will now allow former Bellator Tournament winners the opportunity to fight in a world title fight without the need to fight in its tournament according to a company release this morning.

Via Bellator press release:

“Just like we’ve done since day one, any fighter who wins The Toughest Tournament in Sports will still be guaranteed a World Title fight,” [Bjorn] Rebney said. “The addition I’m making here, that I’m really excited about, is if you’ve won a tournament, you’ll join an elite group of athletes who we can grant a world title fight to at any time.”

“For example, if you win a tournament, fight for the World Title and lose, you forever remain in that elite group of fighters who can be awarded another shot at the title. We will place some fighters back into tournaments, while others may lose a world title fight, win some non-tournament fights and be awarded another shot at the title. We won’t be implementing any hard and fast rule as to when a fighter will go back into a tournament and when he’ll fight non-tournament fights and potentially be granted another title shot.  What’s great about this addition is that it allows us to stay true to our core format, where title shots can only be earned through a tournament win, while also providing us tremendous flexibility to make the great fights fans want to see.  And, we can do all this while keeping our fighters busy and battling in meaningful fights on a re-occurring basis. This is another step in our constant evolution and most importantly it’s a win for the fighters and the fans.”

The current pool of fighters eligible to be chosen to fight for the world title includes:

Bantamweight: Eduardo Dantas*, Joe Warren*, Marcos Galvao, Rafael Silva

Featherweight: Pat Curran*, Patricio Pitbull, Daniel Straus, Shahbulat Shamhalaev, “Frodo” Khasbulaev, Daniel Weichel, Joe Warren.

Lightweight: Eddie Alvarez*, Will Brooks*, Michael Chandler, Pat Curran, Rick Hawn, Dave Jansen, David Rickels

Welterweight: Douglas Lima*, Karl Amoussou, Andrey Koreshkov, Rick Hawn

Middleweight: Alexander Shlemenko*, Brennan Ward, Doug Marshall

Light Heavyweight: Emanuel Newton*, Rampage Jackson, King Mo, Christian M’Pumbu, Atilla Vegh,

Heavyweight: Vitaly Minakov*, Alexander Volkov, Cheick Kongo

* Denotes Current Bellator Champion or Interim Champion


The MMA Report clarified with Bellator that if a fighter moves between weight classes, the fighter would still have to go through a tournament in that weight class to secure a title shot.

Rebney told MMA Fighting that the reason for the change is to “stay true to who we [Bellator] are, but it also give us much more flexibility to make compelling world title fights.”

Payout Perspective:

There was obvious need for such an amendment to the rules if Bellator wants to put on more fan friendly fights.  Certainly, Bellator fans (and non-fans) would have pointed to match-making issues if the organization were to set up fights outside of the tournament structure.  I would assume that one of the reasons for this change is for future PPVs.  It will be interesting to see how Bellator uses this new clause.

7 Responses to “Bellator makes rule change”

  1. Sam on June 12th, 2014 12:34 PM

    This is a much more intriguing format than the UFC.

  2. Anti troll on June 12th, 2014 2:20 PM

    Trolls on the loose

  3. BrainSmasher on June 12th, 2014 10:32 PM

    In other words their entire set up was bull sheet just like I and many others said when they started. Gradually they realized how stupid and amateurish they have ran their company. Fight fans saw how tournaments don’t work over 15 years ago. You can’t leave match making up to the randomness of a tournament and a champ can’t sit and wait for a tournament to end to find out who he fights. Rather embarracing to see them strip away the hype they have been selling in their own tournament one change at a time. But of course this change is a must for a company who want to manipulate who holds and fights for their belt and put together wwe type fights that are pointless in the eyes of fight fans. It allows them to cash in on rematches which is important for a promotion with few names and little talent.

  4. Diego on June 13th, 2014 5:26 AM

    Yeah, so stupid and amateurish that they have a major network deal, were bought out by Viacom and have slowly built up their ratings. How unprofessional of them. What where they thinking. They should just shut down and stop polluting MMA with their presence.

    Stop hating BS. Bellator is doing a good job and at least they try to put some rhyme and reason to what they do. Among other brain teasers I’m still wondering why Sonnen fought Jones and Teixeira fought Miocic, and Silva fought Griffin and Bonner, etc.

  5. saldathief on June 13th, 2014 9:23 AM

    MMA is a young sport trying to get its niche, its going to take trial and error to see where it ends up. Rules and regulations will change, and the nature of the way the sport is run will evolve. IMO sooner or later the ‘leagues’ will dissolve and MMA will take on a format like boxing, Fighters are getting smarter and its obvious there is enough popularity of the sport for this type of league and control thing will go to the wayside. Its only a matter of time before a former or active fighter will start promoting fights and organizing fighters to compete outside of the ‘Leagues” creating open competition with all fighters. Unfortunately if you look at boxing there are some promoters who keep there main fighters only fighting stable mates. Like top rank and GB. So there are still major problems in both sorts. I personally like the tournament thing, keeps it different and exciting. I mean wtf are the NFL play offs are for example. There are tournaments in a lot of sports, so I wouldn’t close the door on it

  6. BrainSmasher on June 13th, 2014 10:51 PM

    Diego, they haven’t grew any ratings. They have the same ratings they started with which are ratings that the UFC built into spike tv. The UFC fights you named were replacement fights on short notice except silva Forrest but Silva wanted to move up to light heavy so the fight made sense. The crap fights BMMA makes are hand picked. Or they are huge mismatches in the tournament. Anyone who has followed the sport seeing BMMA as someone who doesn’t know anything about the fight game at all. They made pointless one sided fights trying to get their guy a win in no win situations. Only to have their guy beat by the bum because they are poor match makers and can’t evaluate talent and break down match ups. Bye it was real smart and makes your promotion look good when a James Thompson shoo was a bum 10 years ago in pride and a bum in Elite XC 5 years ago can come in and smash a guy who fought for their belt last year in about a minute. What was the point of that fight? James has no future and credibility and only discredits your division if he wins.

  7. BrainSmasher on June 13th, 2014 11:02 PM

    Salad, in other sports your record starts over each season. It does t hurt anyone that everyone except one team ends with a loss. But in mma those loses do follow you around and they start to add up. Also the match ups are so e what random so talented people can get bad fights and lose to dead end fights who just got a lucky style match in their favor. You can also not set up fights to make your guys looks good. Remember how machida started in the UFC? Didn’t get the right match ups and his fights were boring decisions. So they stopped setting him up with defensive counter fighters. Then he was able to showcase his skills. Tournaments are great for no names to make a name for themselves. But not the top guys or contenders in a promotions. I always sakes BMMA should not put any of their top 5-10 guys in their divisions in those tournaments. Makes names not ruin the ones you have and prevent anyone from getting more than a few wins in a row.

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