Bellator are all set to crown a new heavyweight champion in 2018 and will do so with an 8-man tournament featuring some of the promotions biggest names.
Former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko, former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton ‘Rampage Jackson, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, current Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammad Lawal, Roy Nelson Matt Mitrione and Chael Sonnen have all been confirmed for next year’s Grand Prix.
Despite the tournament draw not yet taking place, bouts for the tournament will occur throughout next year with the final tentatively set for next December. Speaking to MMAJunkie, Bellator president Scott Coker discussed crowning a new champion with the promotions heavyweight title being vacant since 2016.
“This is going to be something that’s iconic for us,” Coker said. “Tournaments, traditionally, are kind of the way martial arts contests happen. Now we get to put eight iconic brand names in our sport together over a year, and then whoever wins will be crowned the heavyweight champion.”
“I think there are certain fights that people want to see,” Coker continued. “Believe me, we’re going to have some amazing matchups in this tournament.
“These fights that we’re going to put together are something that the fans want to see. These are iconic names, big brands.”