Bellator News - Page 18
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Bellator signs wrestling phenom Shanon Slack for May 18 fight against Booker Arthur
Bellator Fighting Championships continues to add to its impressive roster, this time adding dynamic featherweight Shanon Slack to its growing list of talent. Slack joins a stacked talent pool that includes reigning Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran, future title challenger Patricio Pitbull, and a collection of some of the top featherweights in the world including Daniel Straus, Marlon Sandro, and "Popo" Bezerra. "The Bellator featherweight division is tough as hell, and it was a huge reason why I decided to join Bellator," Slack said. "The tournament format is something that really stood out to me as well. There aren't any politics involved, and like any fighter, I want my title shot. Any fighter can say they want to take things one fight at a time, but if you aren't in this to become a champion, then you're in the wrong sport." Armed with a wrestling base that earned him a spot as a U.S. Olympic alternate in 2008, Slack has trained with some of the biggest names in the sport and currently is a member of the world renowned Blackhouse fight team. Slack already boasts a spotless record of 3-0, but knows the sky is the limit with Bellator.
Akihiro Gono announces MMA retirement following Bellator 67 loss
One of MMA's longest and most colorful careers has come to an end. Following his loss to Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler at Friday's Bellator 67 event, Akihiro Gono (32-18-7) announced his retirement from the sport. The Japanese veteran made the announcement in a post-event press conference following the MTV2-televised event. At Casino Rama in Ontario, Canada, Gono proved no match for recently crowned titleholder Chandler in their headlining non-title fight. Chandler connected with a straight right that floored Gono, and he then unloaded a lightning-quick flurry of punches to prompt the TKO stoppage just 56 seconds into the fight. An emotional Gono received a standing ovation when he made the retirement announcement afterward.
Bellator signs British heavyweight prospect Mark Godbeer
Bellator Fighting Championships latest foreign import is coming from England. Mark "The Hand of" Godbeer (8-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) has inked a multi-fight deal with Bellator and is expected to debut sometime during the promotion's upcoming "Summer Series" event series. The signing was first reported by several British news outlets, and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed the deal with sources close to the promotion. Godbeer made his professional debut in August 2009 and quickly racked up seven-straight stoppage wins. This past November, he suffered his first career defeat in a TKO loss to undefeated Englishman Anthony Taylor. However, Godbeer bounced back in March with a TKO victory over Catalin Zmarandescu, who was unable to answer the bell for the second round in the pair's BAMMA 9 matchup. Godbeer, a Trojan Freefighters athlete, has earned all eight of his career wins via stoppage, including six by knockout. He has yet to fight beyond the second round.
Bellator Champ Eduardo Dantas Says Promotion Coming To Brazil In 2013
Brazilian bantamweight Eduardo Dantas (14-2) realized a dream last month by capturing his first major title by choking out Zach Makovsky to win the Bellator 135-lbs title in Atlantic City. Since then Dantas has seen his life change significantly, from being recognized on the streets, to English classes in order to connect better with fans in North America. Talking to Tatame.com, Dantas plans on keeping that title for awhile and would love to defend it in front of his countrymen when Bellator goes to Brazil in 2013.
Pay-Per-View Could Be in Bellator's Future
When Bellator lost its middleweight champion Hector Lombard to the UFC last week, it was at least partially because in the UFC's offer, they monetized the deal through pay-per-view. That avenue isn't available to Bellator right now, but within two years, it might be. As Bellator grows internationally through its major deal with distribution giant Fremantle Enterprises, and makes its move domestically to Spike, new opportunities will arise. And that could mean that at some point, Bellator will try out the pay-per-view format. Organization CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMA Fighting that the promotion is considering all of its options when it comes to producing live content, but that Bellator would only make the move to pay-per-view under the right circumstances. "I think what you’ll see is as this is monetized and that sector plays out, it’ll play out with the big fights on that platform," he said in a recent interview. "You need that kind of platform for what they’re doing. We may get there. I never wanted to make a firm commitment to it as far as when and if we’ll get there, though. It’s really something that we might do, but it needs the right fights and the right talent to get you there."
Rickels vs. Amoussou tourney semifinal moves to Bellator 69
Karl Amoussou (14-4-2 MMA, 2-1 BFC) and David Rickels (10-0 MMA, 2-0 BFC) will still meet in a season-six welterweight-tournament-semifinal fight. They'll just do so on a different date. While initially targeted for Friday's Bellator 67 event, a source close to the fighters told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the tourney fight instead takes place next month at Bellator 69. Bellator 69 takes place May 18 at L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles, La., and the main card airs on MTV2 following Spike.com prelims.
With UFC deal official, Hector Lombard calls out middleweight champ Anderson Silva
Well that didn't take long. With the ink barely dry on his new UFC deal, former Bellator middleweight champ Hector Lombard (31-2-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) made his intentions perfectly clear. "I want to be UFC middleweight champion, and I want to fight Anderson Silva to do it," Lombard stated. "I have such respect for him as a fighter. It would be an honor and a dream come true to test my skills against his."
Full card set for Rama return at Bellator 67
Bellator Fighting Championships heads back to Canada, as the promotion returns to Casino Rama in Orilla, Ont., on May 4 for Bellator 67. The night will feature Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler squaring off against 32-win MMA veteran and Japanese sensation Akihiro Gono. Also, a Season 6 welterweight tournament semi-final bout between Ben Saunders and Bryan Baker will take place in addition to the return of Polish heavyweight sensation Damian (The Polish Pitbull) Grabowski and the Bellator debut of Canada’s own Ryan (The Real Deal) Ford.
Rebney: Falcao vs. Spang winner meets Shlemenko for Bellator's vacant middleweight title
Maiquel Falcao (30-4 MMA, 2-0 BFC) and Andreas Spang (8-1 MMA, 1-0 BFC) already knew a win in their season-six tournament final would lead to a championship fight. They just didn't know who would be on the other side of the cage. As it turns out, with reigning champion Hector Lombard departing for the UFC, Alexander Shlemenko (45-7 MMA, 7-1 BFC) will face the Falcao vs. Spang winner with the vacant middleweight belt on the line. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney today announced the plans via Twitter.
Bellator 66 ratings: Viewership plunges to just 109,000 MTV2 viewers
Despite what was arguably Bellator's biggest fight and biggest show of its sixth season, this past weekend's Bellator 66 event saw a ratings plunge. The April 20 broadcast averaged just 109,000 MTV2 viewers, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie,com) today confirmed with industry sources. That's down 33 percent from the 163,000 viewers who tuned in for Bellator 65 a week prior. It's also the third-worst figure in Bellator and MTV2's 32-event history. Bellator 66 took place at Cleveland's I-X Center. In addition to MTV2, many websites, including MMAjunkie.com, also carried the prelims and main-card fights, which could have put a dent in the ratings figure. Still, it's bad news for Bellator, which boasted a big headliner and rematch between Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki at Bellator 65. The event, which saw Alvarez earn a first-round victory, also featured four tournament-semifinal fights in the middleweight and welterweight divisions, as well as a loaded preliminary card. Middleweight-tourney finalists Andreas Spang and Maiquel Falcao had a brief post-fight scuffle at the event, though even that dustup didn't help ratings.
Bellator champ Hector Lombard signs with UFC
Good news We can finally see if this can crusher talk is warranted.
Bellator Boss Bjorn Rebney Confirms Hector Lombard is UFC-Bound
World-ranked middleweight Hector Lombard will leave his longtime home at Bellator and sign with the UFC. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the move to MMA Fighting on Tuesday afternoon. Bellator had a right to match the UFC's offer to the man who was their reigning middleweight champion, but Rebney cited differences between the two organizational models as the obstacle that could not be overcome when it came to matching the UFC's deal. "We have a business model where we make decisions based on analyzing data," he said. "Since the first day we came into being, we made decisions based on real models, not hypotheticals. The UFC model is largely based on pay-per-view, and the offer they made to Hector is going to be monetized via pay-per-view. While pay-per-view could play a role in our future, today it doesn't. So, we did our due diligence to review the UFC contract, analyze it in terms of charging our audience to see Hector vs. putting him on free TV, and we decided to allow the UFC to sign Hector, where I am extremely confident he will win the UFC middleweight title on pay-per-view."
Dana White expresses interest in Bellator's Eddie Alvarez and Hector Lombard
When you're as big and influential as the UFC, simple desire often is the only thing needed to get what you want. So, take note Bellator fans; the UFC clearly wants two of its rival organization's biggest stars: ex-lightweight champ Eddie Alavarez (23-3 MMA, 7-1 BFC) and current middleweight titleholder Hector Lombard (31-2-1 MMA, 8-0 BFC). UFC president Dana White suggested the UFC soon will make a play to sign both Bellator veterans. Both fighters have been with Bellator since its inception in 2009. But as their contracts wind down and Alvarez and Lombard have the option to flirt with other suitors, the lure of the UFC is going to be strong. Alvarez, who lost his title to Michael Chandler in November, upped his value on Friday by avenging an earlier defeat and making quick work of submission specialist Shinya Aoki in Bellator 66's headliner. After the fight, Alvarez said Bellator CEO and Chairman Bjorn Rebney needed to "show me the money" in a new contract. The Bellator boss told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Alvarez is "an absolute class act" who's been "a pleasuring work with." So will Rebney, in fact, show him the money? "I don't think he's left me with a lot of choice, do you?" Rebney said.
Post-fight scuffle mars Andreas Spang's Bellator 66 comeback, disciplinary action likely
Andreas Spang's comeback win over hometown hero Brian Rogers was a thing of beauty. And then things got real ugly. For the better part of two rounds, Rogers (9-4 MMA, 2-2 BFC) had his way with the late replacement Spang (8-1 MMA, 1-0 BFC), who filled in for injured Bruno Santos in middleweight-tournament-semifinal action. The bout was part of the MTV2-televised main card of Bellator 66, which took place Friday at Cleveland's I-X Center. Rogers scored early in the fight with kicks and punches before slipping on a head kick. Spang was able to seize the moment and get his back in the scramble and threaten with a rear-naked-choke submission. But then it was back to punishment mode after the escape, and Rogers resumed peppering Spang with heavy punches to the body and head. It was more of the same in the second frame. Rogers countered with a big right cross early, caught Spang's kick, and continued his vicious assault. Spang was visibly hurt and wobbly at one point, and Rogers sprung forward throwing wild punches looking for the kill. It cost him dearly. Out of nowhere, Spang countered with a left hook that dropped Rogers like a sack of potatoes. One hammerfist later, referee Jerry Poe had seen enough. That was it. Spang had authored one of the best comebacks of the year in MMA and advanced to the middleweight-tournament finals. "I had a couple rough times," Spang told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "He hits pretty hard. I never felt really worried or in too much of danger. I know he had his way with me a couple times, but I was pretty focused on the win. I came here to win. I caught him with my moneymaker left hook." Maiquel Falcao (30-4 MMA, 2-0 BFC), who defeated Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (16-2 MMA, 1-1 BFC) by unanimous decision earlier in the evening to secure his own spot in the finals, was brought into the cage to greet Spang for the first time after the fight. Then all hell broke loose...
Bellator 66 weigh-in results: Eddie Alvarez (154.5), Shinya Aoki (154.5) on weight
Official Bellator 66 fighter weigh-ins took place today, and all fighters easily made weight. Today's festivities took place at Great Lakes Ballroom at Cleveland's I-X Center. Both Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki were on weight for their highly anticipated rematch in Bellator 66's headliner. Both fighters weighed 154.5 pounds. Bellator 66 takes place Friday at the I-X Center. The main card airs on MTV2, and prelims can be watched on MMAjunkie.com or Spike.com.
Following Bellator release, Alexis Vila plans move to UFC's flyweight division
Unbeaten in his first 11 professional fights, Alexis Vila is now a free agent after back-to-back losses. The 41-year-old Vila (11-2 MMA, 2-2 BFC) told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that he has been released by Bellator following a loss to Luis Nogueira in the opening round of the promotion's season-six bantamweight tournament, which took place this past Friday at Bellator 65. Now, the former Olympian plans a move to flyweight, and hopefully, to the UFC. "I know that [bantamweight is] not my weight class, so I want to prove I'm the best flyweight in the world," Vila said. Vila, a bronze-medalist wrestler at the 1996 Olympics representing his native Cuba, said he walks around between the 135 and 140 pounds, which may have placed him at a disadvantage against bantamweights who cut between 15-20 pounds to make the 135-pound limit.
New Bellator champ Eduardo Dantas expects teammate vs. teammate possibility
Teammates fighting teammates may soon be an issue that isn't identified solely with the UFC. One of the sport's other top promotions may soon face that possibility. After all, newly crowned Bellator champion bantamweight Eduardo Dantas expects friend and teammate Marcos Galvao to win the season-six bantamweight tournament and claim a title shot. And Dantas isn't sure he's ready to fight him.
Bruno Santos out due to injury, Andreas Spang to face Brian Rogers at Bellator 66
Unbeaten Brazilian Bruno “Carioca” Santos has been forced from Bellator Fighting Championships’ sixth-season middleweight tournament due to a shoulder injury. Santos, who earned his slot in the tournament semifinals by outpointing Giva Santana on March 16, was slated to face Brian Rogers this Friday at Bellator 66. Instead, promotion officials today announced that Rogers will take on late replacement and Bellator newcomer Andreas Spang (Pictured) at the I-X Center in Cleveland. “I don’t know anything about my new opponent,” Rogers wrote on Twitter. “I don’t care, so don’t ask me about it. You have Google just like me, guys.
Bellator 64 TV Ratings Match Season High, but Future on Spike Holds the Key
The TV ratings for Bellator 64 on Friday night tied the Season 6 high for the promotion, drawing 175,000 viewers on MTV2. The season low to this point is 108,000 for Bellator 61, with the five weeks thus far averaging 153,400 viewers per episode. Those numbers pale in comparison to the oft maligned TUF: Live TV ratings that just dipped below one million viewers for the first time in Ultimate Fighter history, but the comparison is a difficult one to make. Just like UFC programming on Fuel TV doesn’t do as well as programming on FX, Bellator’s programming on MTV2 suffers from the lower availability of the network and MTV2 not being known for sports programming. Bellator’s season average of viewers per episode has steadily declined over the past three seasons...
Champ Cole Konrad vs. Eric Prindle off Bellator 65, moved to Bellator 70
This week's Bellator 65 event has lost a title fight. A fight between heavyweight champion Cole Konrad (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BFC) and de facto tournament winner Eric Prindle (7-1 MMA, 3-0 BFC) has been moved to Bellator 70 on May 25. Prindle, who suffered a hand injury, today tweeted news of the change. Bellator 65 takes place Friday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Konrad vs. Prindle was expected to join Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky (14-2 MMA, 6-0 BFC) and fellow headliner Eduardo Dantas (13-2 MMA, 3-0 BFC) on the MTV2-televised main card. Instead, it'll take place next month at a currently unannounced Bellator 70.