A new change coming to Bellator

It's something Bellator has been obviously toying with for years and years, and no, it's not a sale of all their assets to the PFL.

By: Zane Simon | 4 months ago
A new change coming to Bellator
Bellator president Scott Coker speaks at an event presser. IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

For much of the past decade there’s been something of a mystery in Bellator’s business. No, not ‘How do they make money without seeming to have a dedicated fanbase?’ Instead it’s been a mystery why, despite having former and future men’s flyweight fighters on their roster, the promotion has never had a men’s flyweight division.

The promotion introduced their first bantamweight title in 2010, with a fight between future UFC flyweight Zach Makovsky and Ed West. Despite picking up word class talents former flyweight talents like Kyoji Horiguchi and Sergio Pettis over the years the promotion has never seemed all that interested in actually building a 125-pound division for its male fighters. That is up until now.

Bellator to launch men’s flyweight division

First reported by MMA Junkie, the news has since been confirmed by multiple outlets, that Bellator plans to open up a new weight class for their talent to compete. That decision comes on the heels of a botched previous attempt at launching the weight class back in April, when Ray Borg failed to even make it to the scales for a planned bout against Kyoji Horiguchi. Borg was subsequently released from the promotion, and even publicly dumped from his management team.

“Ray couldn’t even make it to ‘35,” said Coker, speaking of Borg’s miss. “I think Horiguchi would’ve probably fought him at ‘35 today, just because he wanted to fight so bad. But listen, in the past, I get it—but his management and my team assured me that he was going to be able to make weight and make the catchweight, which was 130, for sure, no problem. And so you go by their word, because usually we don’t have a problem like this in a fight that big. But unfortunately, that’s what happened today.”

As of the moment, that move means that ex-UFC title contender and former Bellator & RIZIN bantamweight champ Horiguchi is the only flyweight fighter currently signed to the promotion’s roster. No planned debut for the promotion’s newest weight class has been announced, although expectations are that the promotion will make the move official with a public statement in the immediate future.

What’s on the horizon?

In the meantime, the Showtime promotion is gearing up for a fight card on June 16th in Chicago, IL. Bellator 297 takes place at the Wintrust Arena and is expected to feature a pair of title bouts. In the main event, light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov will take on former UFC title contender Yoel Romero. With bantamweight champ Sergio Pettis taking on featherweight king Patricio Pitbull in the co-main.

Here’s a look at the full card:

  • Vadim Nemkov vs. Yoel Romero
  • Sergio Pettis vs. Patricio Pitbull
  • Corey Anderson vs. Phil Davis
  • Daniel James vs. Gokhan Saricam
  • Karl Moore vs. Alex Polizzi
  • Pieter Buist vs. Gadzhi Rabadanov
  • Jaleel Willis vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov
  • Archie Colgan vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
  • Norbert Novenyi Jr. vs Kamil Onizsczuk
  • Timur Khizriev vs. Richie Smullen
  • Kyle Crutchmer vs. Bobby Nash
  • Austin Vanderford vs. Imamshafi Aliev
  • Leandro Higo vs. Nikita Mikhailov
  • Wladmir Gouvea vs. Kevin Childs
  • Mike Hamel vs. Shamil Nikaev
  • Jordan Newman vs. Matthew Perry
  • Cody Law vs. Edwin Chaven
  • Max Metzgar vs. David McKinney
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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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