("I have no idea how I’m going to explain this to my wife. And you know what? I don’t care." Photo courtesy of ESPN.)
Jay Hieron‘s stint with Strikeforce has been one kick in the nuts after another. Since debuting last August at Carano vs. Cyborg, the former IFL champ has only competed once more for the promotion, and both of his appearances have been buried on untelevised preliminary cards. He signed with Strikeforce under the impression that he’d be getting a title shot against Nick Diaz — then saw himself get line-jumped by Marius Zaromskis. After he and Strikeforce couldn’t see eye-to-eye this year on contract re-negotiations, Hieron became one of MMA’s most valuable (and frustrated) free-agents.
According to a press release distributed last night, Hieron has decided to take his talents to Bellator for their season 4 welterweight tournament, which is slated to kick off in December and already features such 170-pound standouts as Dan Hornbuckle, Jim Wallhead, and Rick Hawn; the winner of the eight-man bracket will receive a big-ass check (yay!) and a shot at current champ Ben Askren (NOOOO!). Hieron explained his decision like so:
"It’s just a great fit for me. At this point in my career, I want to stay as active as possible, and the tournament format allows me to do that. It’s a great organization, and it’s just the perfect fit."
After competing 1-2 times a year for the last three years, the temptation of banging out three fights in a matter of weeks must have been too great for Hieron to pass up. It’ll be interesting to see how well he can perform with a little momentum behind him. Hieron has won his last seven appearances, and hasn’t lost a fight since being knocked out by Brad Blackburn three-and-a-half years ago.