After failing to reach a new contract agreement with the UFC, Gegard Mousasi has decided to jump ship in order to team up with Scott Coker once more and has signed a six-fight deal with Bellator MMA.
‘The Dreamcatcher’ is ranked #4 in the UFC’s middleweight rankings and currently holds a five-fight winning streak in the promotion over the likes of former UFC champions Vitor Belfort and Chris Weidman.
Confirming the news to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Mousasi outlined how his deal with Bellator came to be.
“I went to the [UFC Athlete] retreat because I wanted to have a meeting with Dana White (UFC president) and UFC lawyers,” Mousasi explained. “We were close. We negotiated up until the end but the best choice for me was to go to Bellator.”
“I worked before with Scott Coker so I have no problems going with Bellator. I know how I’m going to get treated in Bellator and the opportunities I’ll get there. After the [Chris Weidman] fight, all the options were open and I wanted to have the best deal for me and at the end, Bellator was the better offer for me.
“The UFC was getting close to the Bellator offer at the end but it’s not just the money. I’ve worked with Scott; when Scott promises you something, he delivers. He’s an honest guy, he treats fighters with respect and that’s one of the things that was very important for me to go to Bellator. The money wasn’t just the factor. You’ve never heard one fighter talk bad about Scott Coker.”
The Dutch fighter had previously talked of his hopes to re-sign with the UFC but was after speaking of his disappointment with their offer, Mousasi’s desire to stick around with the WME-IMG banner dwindled over time.
“The UFC had always treated me well to be honest. Dana White has always talked good about me. I’m thankful to them. I’m at this point because they gave me the opportunities to be where I’m at now,” Mousasi said. “The thing is with the middleweight division, (Robert) Whittaker won against Jacare (Souza) and he skipped three places in the rankings and fought for the interim title. I thought I was ahead of him, that’s my opinion. I respect Whittaker, congratulations for winning the belt but I think if they would have come to me and said ‘You’re fighting for the interim belt’ things would have been more interesting to me. Those things matter.”
Becoming the latest in a growing line of fighters to sign with Bellator, Mousasi also spoke highly of his new promotion and the ‘more open-minded’ approach that Bellator would grant him in regards to who and where he fights.
“Eventually, maybe, a fight against Rory MacDonald is a possibility. It’s the same thing the UFC did, Michael Bisping vs Georges St-Pierre but I think me versus MacDonald would be much better because we are both in our primes,” Mousasi said. “It creates opportunities. I get something to say. I can say I want to go up a division, there’s super fights to be made. I could fight Wanderlei (Silva), not because he’s in his prime but because he has a big name. I could even fight heavyweight, I’m open to it. That’s the good thing about Bellator, I can ask for things. It’s more open minded. The UFC is very strict about those things… those things make me happy to go to Bellator.
“To be honest, my feeling was to go with Bellator all the way from the beginning. I’ve worked with Scott before… with Bellator I can grow with the company. Why would a fighter choose to not go to Bellator where they would be treated better. I want to do my part to make Bellator bigger.”
“I’m here to fight. I’m a fighter. I believe I will be champion there. I believe I could have been champion in the UFC also. I’ll take whoever they put in front of me.”