Bader receives the UFC’s blessing to go to Bellator
February 4, 2017
Light heavyweight Ryan Bader is headed to Bellator after Dana White confirmed that the company would not match any offer extended by the UFC’s competitor.
“We had told Ryan Bader he was good to go,” said Dana White during his stint on radio row at Super Bowl LI in Houston (via MMA Junkie). White stated it was “the right move for him.”
No word from Bellator on the Bader signing although it’s likely that the company would scoop up Bader who fought out his contract after a TKO victory against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in November 2016.
Waiving the non-compete window and matching rights is a sign that the company did not believe that Bader was in the future of the light heavyweight division in the UFC. He also was likely making upwards of $65K-$70K per fight (the last time Bader’s pay was officially revealed was $47K in 2012) plus $20,000 from Reebok payouts (he was entering his 21st fight in the UFC which would have bumped him to $20K per fight). Whether or not White’s comments were complimentary or a slight at the fact that he was past his prime is subject to interpretation. One might also see the move as a sign that the company will not hold fighters back from continuing their career.