Canada’s number 5 ranked welterweight Ryan “The Real Deal” Ford has signed on with his first major U.S. promotion. According to the Edmonton, Alberta fighter, he has come to terms with Bellator Fighting Championships and will make his debut with the Chicago-based promotion in October during season 5 at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario against a yet-to-be determined opponent in a non-tournament bout and will then participate in next season’t welterweight bracket that begins in January 2012.
Ford posted the following on his Facebook page this afternoon:
“The Real Deal Will Be Keepin It GDUP For Bellator Fighting Championships. Debut In October @ Casino Rama Then The 170lb 100k Tournament In January 2012 Representing E-Town And Canada!!!!”
With the signing, Ford joins fellow top five Canadian welterweights Georges St-Pierre, Rory MacDonald, Claude Patrick and John Alessio on the list of contracted to U.S. promotions. MacDonald, St-Pierre and Patrick are all with the UFC, while Alessio is the Tachi Palace welterweight champion.
At 16-3 and 29 years of age, Ford has been chasing a championship and a big league contract since he began fighting in 2007. He is set to vie for the vacant Aggression MMA’s welterweight strap in September, but it’s unlikely that the Edmonton-based promotion will go ahead with the bout considering Ford will be leaving a month later to compete for Bellator. He will take a four-fight winning streak into his fight in October having defeated Nick Hinchliffe (TKO), Karo Parisyan (doctor’s stoppage due to cut), Johnny Davis (TKO) and Pete Spratt (rear naked choke) since losing to Douglas Lima by armbar last September at MFC 26.
Arguably the biggest win of his career came against Parisyan, which ended controversially as a well-timed knee by Ford opened up a cut on the Armenian judoka’s forehead which despite his protests, the doctor deemed was too severe for “The Heat” to continue fighting. The gash stopped bleeding before they announced the winner of the bout, prompting Parisyan to call for a rematch, which may only happen if he too signs on with Bellator.