Leben unretires, signs with Bellator
Bellator MMA signed Benson Henderson this week, and veteran heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov, and now has signed Chris Leben. The announcement was made by president Scott Coker on AXS TV's “Inside MMA.”
“He’s got some physicals to pass, but pending his passing of all his physicals, he will be a Bellator fighter. ... From the very beginning, we made a public statement - we've been transparent about this - that we’re looking for the best free agents that make the most sense for our roster. There are free agents out there. Some we will go after, some we won't. … We have a great roster in place. We’re building fighters from the ground up. ... And when the free agents we want are available, we’ll go after them, as well. So we're going to build this roster from the bottom up, and from the top down."
Goiti Yamauchi vs. Bubba Jenkins set for Bellator 151
Two rising featherweight prospects will meet at Bellator 151, as Japanese-Brazilian Goiti Yamauchi faces Bubba Jenkins in Thackerville, Okla., on March 4. Sources close to the situation confirmed the match-up to MMAFighting.com.
Yamauchi (19-2) holds a 5-1 record inside the Bellator cage with four stoppage victories, while Jenkins (10-2) knocked out four opponents in his 7-2 run in the promotion.
Sergei Kharitonov signs with Bellator
Scott Coker is linking up with another familiar face.
Heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov has signed an exclusive multi-fight contract with Bellator MMA, according to sources close to the promotion. The Russian striker is currently expected to make his debut in May.
Bellator 149 lineup complete with Melvin Guillard vs. Derek Campos, plus 9 prelims
Melvin Guillard has a new opponent for Bellator 149 later this month in Houston, and the card is complete with the addition of nine prelims.
Guillard (32-15-2 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) originally was set to meet Houston native Mike Bronzoulis (18-9 MMA, 0-2 BMMA), but now will face Derek Campos (15-6 MMA, 4-4 BMMA) on the main card. Bellator officials announced Guillard’s new opponent today, as well as the card’s complete lineup.
The complete Bellator 149 lineup now includes:
MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET)
Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock
Kimbo Slice vs. Dhafir Harris
Emanuel Newton vs. Linton Vassell
Derek Campos vs. Melvin Guillard
Daniel Pineda vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie, 7 p.m. ET)
Juan Torres vs. Justin Wren
Jeremy Mahon vs. Davis Sylvester
James Christopherson vs. Charlie Ontiveros
Ruben Esparsa vs. C.J. Hancock
Daniel Santos vs. Adrian Yanez
Richard Knepp vs. Isaac Villanueva
Mike Trinh vs. Angel Zamora
Anthony Ivy vs. Jason Langellier
Manny Lozoya vs. Jacob Norsworthy
Benson Henderson gets welterweight title shot vs. Koreshkov in Bellator 153 main event
Former UFC lightweight champion and recent Bellator acquisition Benson Henderson will get an immediate title shot at welterweight in his new home.
Henderson (23-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is set to fight for the 170-pound title against champion Andrey Koreshkov (18-1 MMA, 9-1 BMMA) in the main event of Bellator 153.
Bellator Director of Communications Danny Brener confirmed the news today to MMAjunkie after an initial report from ESPN.com. Bellator 153 takes place April 22 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and its main card airs on Spike TV following prelims on MMAjunkie.
Former UFC champ Benson Henderson announces he's signed with Bellator
I’d like to officially announce my move over to Bellator MMA.
I’m beyond excited for this next phase of my career, it’s a big move, like any move when switching employers or jobs after having worked somewhere for such a long time.
I have to thank the BigMan upstairs for putting some amazing people in my life, my wife (first and foremost) and a lot of truly smart and insightful people behind the scenes who helped make the connections and negotiated this deal to bring it to fruition.
I’d be remiss to not thank Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita for the opportunities they presented me, you guys have helped me change my life for the better and to be able to provide my family with the things I didn’t have while growing up. For that I’ll always have the utmost appreciation. Thanks for all the advise you guys gave too, both business wise and personal.
And last but not least, to who it is I think of when I think of the UFC! Everybody behind the scenes who I personally dealt with every time I reported in or had to do something. Mayra, Melissa, Dave, Chris, Nick, Tracy, Joanie, Maura, Tony, Heidi, Ryan, James, Dave, Kaia (sp.???), Burt, Rob, Rudy, Stitch, House, Mike, Susie, Dean, Donna, Feryal, Sean, Joe, Brad, Jazzmine, Candice, Michelle, Reed, sorry I can’t name everyone or this list would go on for forever. There’s a whole ton of people behind the scenes who make that show what it is. You guys and girls are the ones who make that show great and allow us fighters to do what it is we love!!! Much love to you all and thanks for putting up with me for so long.
To my fans, thanks for all the love and support, I’ll keep giving you my all, opening up my heart and soul inside that cage. I’m excited for this next chapter and building new relationships with guys I’ve heard nothing but great things about like Scott Coker, Rich Chou and Mike Kogan.
Scott Coker plans 'serious discussions' with Wanderlei Silva about Bellator fight
MMA legend Wanderlei Silva might not have a very difficult time finding work after the UFC officially released him from his UFC contract earlier this month.
Bellator President Scott Coker said he’s interested in acquiring the services of “The Axe Murderer” and plans to meet with Silva (35-12-1) in the coming weeks about a deal.
“Not every free agent is a fit over here, but Wanderlei is someone we would like to have a serious discussion with,” Coker told MMAjunkie Radio. “I think he’s in Brazil right now, and I think he’ll be back in town next month, and we’ll have some dialogue.”
Scott Coker talks about minakovs return,possible free agent targets and more
There’s plenty going on in the world of Bellator President Scott Coker ahead of Friday’s Bellator 148 event at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.
Coker revealed to MMAjunkie that Bellator 148 headliner Paul Daley (37-13-2 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), who meets Andy Uhrich (11-5 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) in a welterweight bout, is likely to meet longtime rival Josh Koscheck in the summer. He also said he intends on having “serious discussions” with MMA legend Wanderlei Silva about signing with the promotion.
There’s a lot more going on with the organization besides those topics, though. Check out what else Coker touched on in a recent interview with MMAjunkie.
Scott Coker: Bellator targeting summer for Paul Daley-Josh Koscheck rematch
It appears Bellator is done playing games when it comes to booking a rematch between welterweights Paul Daley and Josh Koscheck.
Bellator attempted to set up the fight by booking Daley (37-13-2 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) and Koscheck (16-10 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in separate bouts at Friday’s Bellator 148 event. But Koscheck pulled out of the event due to injury, which derailed the plan to showcase both fighters ahead of a second meeting.
Russian Muay Thai champion explains why she signed with Bellator instead of the UFC
Several weeks ago, Bellator MMA announced a portion of their line-up for the Turin, Italy fight card. Amongst the competitors was a new face: recently signed Russian Muay Thai champion Anastasia Yankova.
The longtime fighter decided to test the water in MMA last year and compiled a undefeated 2-0 record as a flyweight under the Fight Nights banner in Russia. With a varied striking arsenal based in Muay Thai and boxing, Yankova has a wealth of experience in combat sports that is not represented in her MMA record.
Is Pat Miletich up next for Bellator 149's Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie winner?
If 51-year-old Ken Shamrock and 49-year-old Royce Gracie can headline a Bellator event, could there also be room for fellow UFC Hall of Famer and MMA pioneer Pat Miletich?
Shamrock (28-16-2) was a guest in the broadcast booth at Friday night’s Legacy FC 50 event, which aired on AXS TV. The MMA legend was there to help promote his upcoming Bellator 149 fight with Gracie (14-2-3), which takes place on Feb. 19 and airs on Spike...
Derek Anderson injured, Patricky 'Pitbull' Freire meets Ryan Couture at Bellator 148
An injury to Derek Anderson has forced him off Bellator 148’s main card and Patricky Freire will step in to face Ryan Couture later this month.
Just five days after the matchup was announced, Anderson (13-2 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) suffered an injury in training and will be unable to meet Couture (10-3 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) in the lightweight matchup. After losing to Anderson at Bellator 147 in December, Freire (14-7 MMA, 7-6 BMMA) will serve as an injury replacement on less than three weeks’ notice.
MMAjunkie today confirmed the switch with Bellator officials.
With the change, the Bellator 148 card now includes:
MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET)
Paul Daley vs. Andy Uhrich
Paul Bradley vs. Chris Honeycutt
Raphael Butler vs. Tony Johnson
Ryan Couture vs. Patricky Freire
PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie, 8 p.m. ET)
Ilima MacFarlane vs. Amber Tackett
Anthony Avila vs. John Reedy
Javy Ayala vs. Carl Seumanutafa
Art Arciniega vs. Justin Smitley
Mason Fowler vs. Idris Wasi
Thomas Diagne vs. Mark Dickman
Paul Ruiz vs. Josh San Diego
Fernando Gonzalez vs. Michael Page gets Bellator 151 co-main event spot
Michael Page will take the next step in his Bellator career when he faces streaking welterweight Fernando Gonzalez at Bellator 151.
The bout was announced Bellator via press release.
Bellator 151 takes place March 4 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.
With the addition, the Bellator 151 card includes:
Darrion Caldwell vs. Joe Warren
Fernando Gonzalez vs. Michael Page
IRS goes after Royce Gracie claiming tax underpayment, fraud totaling $1.15 million
Remember the scrawny guy in a gi who smoked the field at UFC 1 and had everyone scratching their heads as to how such a thing was possible? Well Royce Gracie is now a UFC Hall of Famer who's scheduled to come out of an almost nine-year MMA layoff/retirement on Feb. 19 for a trilogy fight with his old archrival Ken Shamrock in Gracie's Bellator promotional debut.
While that fight will be upon us soon enough, few are aware that Gracie is smack dab in the middle of another fight against an even tougher, more battle-tested opponent who can't be grappled into submission: The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Gracie's tax problems appear to have begun in 2012 when he and his wife each received an IRS administrative summons "seeking information about their foreign bank and foreign investment activities." It is unclear exactly how the Gracies first appeared on the IRS's radar, but an investigation began and the IRS needed additional documents for tax years 2007 through 2011 in order to evaluate "among other things, [the Gracies'] liability for civil penalties."
Josh Koscheck injured, out of Bellator debut
Josh Koscheck's Bellator debut is going to have to wait.
The MMA star is injured and out of his main event fight with Matt Secor at Bellator 148 on Jan. 29 in Fresno, Calif., Bellator officials confirmed with MMA Fighting on Tuesday. The extent of the injury was not disclosed. Secor is not expected to be on the card.
(Courtesy of on Twitter)