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Tag: Bellator

The Unsupportable Opinion: I’m Watching Bellator Instead of UFC This Friday, And You Should Too


(Bobby Lashley has swelled up to Guy on the Right proportions. That’s worth your attention, right there.)

By Shep Ramsey

Unless you’ve been trapped in your basement savoring celebrity nudes for the past few days, you can’t ignore the UFC vs. Bellator showdown this Friday night. Both MMA organizations are going head-to-head, and to make the pot even sweeter, both events take place in the not-so-glorious state of Connecticut.

Are Dana White and Scott Coker both there to lobby for MMA regulation in nearby New York, or petition for the return of the Hartford Whalers? No.

Not since Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson’s match of “Who Can Run Faster, You or Me” has the sporting world been on the edge of their seats for something of this magnitude. But first, a brief rundown of what’s been happening in each promotion.

Let’s begin with Bellator, the little-brother league that used to hold tournaments not only for its fighters to earn title shots, but also to give champions 14-month periods of rest between fights. Viacom, the mega broadcast company that currently pulls the strings, recently axed Bjorn Rebney from his presidential post for being a “dickrider,” and brought former Strikeforce mastermind Scott Coker into the fold to run this promotion before it runs itself into the ground. I mean, who else brought you the demise of Fedor Emilianenko, premiere women’s MMA battles, Frank Shamrock getting his arms broken by kicks, a post-fight brawl involving Californian gangs, and Gus “Call of the Century” Johnson?

As for the UFC, the promotion started out as an addictive source of violence after two casino heirs-turned-bodybuilders used their papa’s money to hire King Kong Bundy in a dress, and revolutionized the sport of MMA. Nowadays, UFC head honcho (and the sole reason why MMA exists) Dana White, has turned on the fans, media, and even fighters because nobody is watching the 2,034 shows his company puts on a year. Basically, it’s your fault that the UFC is watered down, and if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, but keep in mind, you’re a piece of trash for not watching and supporting fighters who are away from their families for six weeks. And fuck the media for telling you otherwise, because if they’re not with UFC, they have no business writing editorials or opinion columns that their employers pay them for.

So here we are on the eve of UFC Fight Night 50 (which really feels like 250) and Bellator 123 (which feels like 123, considering we have no idea what happened from 1 to 81). You have to pick one, and this writer is going to pretend that dual television sets, DVR, or sketchy Internet streams don’t exist. Which one is it going to be?

You bet your ass we’re watching Bellator…well, at least I am.

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Stephan Bonnar Comes Out of Retirement to Sign With Bellator, Fight Against Tito Ortiz Likely


(Photo via MMAWeekly)

Back in October 2012, Stephan Bonnar announced his retirement from MMA following his TKO loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 153. Then, he tested positive for steroids. Then, he was somehow inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame — an unexpectedly positive end to a mostly-respectable career.

Except it wasn’t the end. According to a report from Ariel Helwani, Bonnar has signed a multi-fight contract with Bellator, and may also do some broadcasting work for the promotion on Spike TV. Bonnar’s debut date and opponent haven’t been revealed yet, but the rumor is that he’ll be fighting fellow UFC HoF’er Tito Ortiz, and he’s already angling for the match:

“I want everyone to know I’m coming out of retirement because it’s time to free the MMA world of the virus that’s known as Tito Ortiz,” Bonnar said in a statement provided by Bellator. “We’ve been suffering through his boring fights for too many years, and it’s about time that someone beats it out of him once and for all.”

In response, Ortiz promised to beat the juice out of him, and called him a #BitchBoy. Strong words, indeed.

Just four months ago, Bonnar told BloodyElbow that he wouldn’t fight for any other promotion besides the UFC, and that he’s currently enjoying his new life as a day-trader. (“It’s about loyalty,” Bonnar said. “More than anything, I take pride in being a part of the UFC and I wouldn’t want to screw that up.”) Well, loyalty only goes so far when Spikeforce is dangling a huge paycheck in front of you.

Bellator CEO Scott Coker had this to say about the Bonnar signing:

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And Now They’re All Fired: Bellator Cuts Attila Vegh, Mighty Mo, and 11 Other Fighters


(Photo via Bellator.com)

For such a respectful, soft-spoken guy, Bellator President Scott Coker has absolutely no problem firing dudes by the dozen. In June, he slashed 19 jobs just a week after joining the organization. And now, 13 more Bellator fighters have been released, as MMAFighting confirmed yesterday evening. Here they are, in order of most surprising to least surprising…

Attila Vegh (5-1 in Bellator), who won the 2012 light heavyweight tournament, then became Bellator’s 205-pound champion with a decision win over Christian M’Pumbu in February 2013. In March of this year, he lost his title in a rematch against Emanuel Newton; Vegh and Newton now hold split-decision victories over each other. Vegh’s dismissal is kind of inexplicable. He’s one of the best light-heavyweights Bellator had under contract, and a rubber-match against Newton seemed like an obvious booking in the future. I don’t get it.

“Mighty Mo” Siliga (3-1 in Bellator), the 43-year-old kickboxing veteran who’s had an unexpected resurgence in Bellator since last year. Mo ended his first three fights in the promotion by stoppage — and proved he had some grappling skills too — but got knocked out by an Alexander Volkov head kick during the Season 10 heavyweight tournament semi-finals in April. Despite his age, Mo has always been a reliably entertaining presence and you’d think the new regime would want to keep him around.

Bryan Baker (8-4 in Bellator), a five-year veteran of the promotion who competed in four tournaments, reaching the Season 2 middleweight finals and Season 6 welterweight finals. Along the way, Baker defeated the likes of Ben Saunders, Joe Riggs, and Jeremy Horn. Baker lost his last two fights and hasn’t competed since February 2013.

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And Now He’s Fired: Bellator Cuts Phil Baroni for Coming to War Machine’s Defense


(Surely a “Wistful Waistcoat Wednesday” is on the horizon. via Baroni’s instagram.)

Scott Coker is not fucking around, folks. Just a few weeks into his position as the new President of Bellator MMA, the former Strikeforce CEO has already shifted the promotion’s schedule from weekly to monthly eventsgranted Eddie Alvarez the unconditional release he’s been requesting for years now, and severed all ties with War Machine. As a matter of fact, Coker doesn’t want his new promotion to be associated with anyone even within Koppenhaver’s social circle, it seems, as longtime supporter/friend Phil Baroni found out the hard way yesterday.

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Bellator Grants Eddie Alvarez Unconditional Release, Alvarez vs. Cerrone Booked for UFC 178 [UPDATED]


(Photo via Ryan Loco)

Eddie Alvarez is a free man. According to a press release sent out by Bellator this afternoon, the promotion has granted the lightweight star his unconditional release, after a rocky history of contract disputes, lawsuits and reconciliations dating back to late 2012. In the end, Bellator president Scott Coker didn’t want to keep Eddie around if he didn’t want to be there. Check out the official statement below:

Newport Beach, Calif. (August 19, 2014)Bellator President Scott Coker has released a statement regarding Eddie Alvarez:

“We’ve granted Eddie his unconditional release. Eddie is free to explore the free agent market, we hold no matching rights, and we wish him the best in the future. We sat down with Eddie and his team a few times, and it became pretty clear early on that he just wasn’t interested in fighting for Bellator in the future. We want guys in this organization that want to be here, and after the history Eddie and the former regime had here at Bellator, we decided to move on. We wish Eddie the absolute best of luck with whatever is next for him. It’s a new chapter for everyone involved.”

Eddie Alvarez has also released a statement:

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Bellator Re-Launches Women’s Division, Announces Signing of Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd


(Photos by Esther Lin)

The rumors of Bellator signing Gina Carano may have been premature — or totally invented — but the promotion will indeed begin holding women’s fights again, as part of a brand-new featherweight division. According to a press release distributed today, Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd have signed contracts with Bellator, and will fight on a live Spike TV broadcast later this year.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring in two of the best athletes competing in our sport today,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “We are making a commitment to bring back the female division to Bellator, and feature some of the world’s best in the Bellator cage.”

Bellator began running women’s matches early in its history, with fighters like Jessica Penne, Leslie Smith, Kerry Vera, and Rosi Sexton featured during the promotion’s first season in 2009. The next year, Bellator hosted a women’s strawweight tournament, which saw Zoila Gurgel outpoint Penne, Jessica Aguilar, and WMMA legend Megumi Fujii. But in light of increasing competition from Invicta FC and the UFC, Bellator formally shut down its women’s divisions in August 2013.

Of course, that was during the Bjorn Rebney era. Now that Scott Coker is runnin’ thangs, Bellator will attempt to re-capture some of the success that Strikeforce previously had in promoting female stars Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg. (By the way, the fact that Coker is pushing a new 145-pound division theoretically makes Bellator a more attractive environment for Carano and Cyborg than the UFC, as they wouldn’t have to squeeze into the bantamweight division to compete.)

But back to Coenen and Budd…

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Scott Coker Denies Rumors That Gina Carano Has Signed With Bellator [UPDATED]


(No man has ever escaped Gina’s mount. Of course, no man has ever *tried* to escape it, but still, that’s an impressive stat. / Photo via Collider)

Yesterday, Bellator middleweight Brian Rogers alerted his friends, fans, and haters that Bellator would be making a “major fight announcement” today. This came on the heels of a rumor-tweet from Hector Castro suggesting that Gina Carano and Marloes Coenen had signed with Bellator. Naturally, we freaked out.

Sadly, the official line from Bellator is that Carano has not signed with the organization. Via Ariel:

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Ben Saunders Welcomes Chris “Stump” Heatherly to the Octagon For UFC Return at Fight Night 49


(Best caption by the end of the day wins a T-shirt. Via Saunders’ Twitter.)

Less than a week ago, Ben Saunders was universally declared by one CagePotato writer with a history of making hyperbolic statements to be one of the greatest UFC washouts still competing on the professional circuit. Two days later, it was announced that “Killa B” had re-signed with the UFC. Coincidence? No, no it is not. The UFC has been blatantly using us to play matchmaker for years now and I demand satisfaction.

In any case, Saunders has received a date and opponent for his UFC return earlier today, and you’re never going to guess who it is, probably because you have never heard of his opponent before. The TUF 6 alum will welcome 8-1 Chris “Stump” Heatherly to the octagon at Fight Night 49 on August 23rd (that’s the one headlined by Ben Henderson vs. Rafael Dos Anjos, BTW).

The fight will mark Saunders first UFC contest in over four years, where he was last outgrappled by Dennis Hallman in a unanimous decision loss at UFC 117. While “Killa B” might be on the heels of a head kick knockout loss to Douglas Lima (his second such loss to Lima in as many fights), he has gone 4-2 in Bellator since 2012 and 7-3 overall.

Heatherly, on the other hand, holds notable wins over Dakota Cochrane (heh) and no one else, and last scored a victory via second round guillotine over Josh Cavan at RFA 16 (you can check out a video of the finish here). Prior to that, he was stretchered out of the cage after eating an illegal elbow to the spine in his RFA debut against Chidi Njokuani. Thankfully for Heatherly, he will only have to worry about protecting his forehead against Saunders.

So…Saunders by submission or KO? Or Heatherly via whatever a stump’s primary method of attack is?

-J. Jones

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And Now He’s Fired: Bellator Fires War Machine Over Domestic Abuse Allegations [UPDATED]


(War Machine in 2007 / Photo via Getty)

Bellator has fired War Machine after a report from TMZ claimed he was involved in a domestic violence investigation.

TMZ’s report claimed the domestic dispute involved three people at War Machine’s Las Vegas home. Two people were reportedly injured so bad they had to go to the hospital. The report claimed one victim was War Machine’s “significant other.”

A tweet from Christy Mack, War Machine’s sort of girlfriend (the “it’s complicated” relationship status was made for them), seems to confirm the report:

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TMZ Releases Photos of Joe Riggs’ Gunshot Wound. They’re Extremely Graphic


(via TMZ)

Joe Riggs shot himself in the leg last week? In case you forgot, Riggs was cleaning his gun when it discharged. The gunshot wounded his hand and leg.

TMZ just released pictures of Riggs’ wounded leg, and they’re brutal. We’d make a “that’s even worse than Marvin Eastman’s cut!” joke but this is a pretty serious matter. CagePotato doesn’t like to joke and ball-bust about life threatening things.

A video is embedded above which shows the images and provides footage of Riggs discussing the injury. If you don’t feel like watching that, here are the photos (via TMZ). Be warned, they are EXTREMELY graphic. Don’t look at them if you’re squeamish.

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