Ladies and gentlemen, the Sassangle is back in business. After recently losing his UFC contract following back-to-back losses, British lightweight submission specialist Paul Sass (13-2) has been picked up by Bellator; his debut date and opponent are TBA. The promotion announced the signing yesterday, in addition to pickups of two other top British 155-pounders:
- Martin Stapleton (12-1), who you may remember from his stint on TUF 9. After picking up two more wins in his home country following the reality show, Stapleton took nearly three years off due to a commitment with the Royal Marines. He returned in 2012 and went 5-0 that year, including three wins in one night at an eight-man Cage Contender tournament last December, where he out-pointed Tommy Maguire in the finals.
- Rob Sinclair (12-2), the reigning BAMMA lightweight champion who is riding a five-fight win streak, with four of those wins by KO/TKO. Fun fact: Sinclair lost a split decision to Paul Sass in October 2009, becoming the first man to go three rounds against Sass without tapping.
So, will Bellator throw all these guys at each other in an upcoming Bellator: U.K. lightweight tournament? We can’t say for sure, but the latest crop of Brit-signings is no coincidence. As CEO Bjorn Rebney explains:
“Our talent development team does the best job in MMA by bringing hugely talented fighters to Bellator from around the globe. The No. 1 question I get from fans is, ‘When will a U.K. television deal be completed with Bellator?’ With these three signings, along with a roster already featuring the likes of Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley, Ronnie Mann and Michael Page, we are setting the table for making Bellator an every week televised occurrence in the U.K.”
International expansion would be a great next step for America’s #2 MMA promotion. We just have one question: Do they even have Indian casinos in England?