Bellator announces 2018 heavyweight grand prix featuring Fedor Emelianenko, Frank Mir, and more
Bellator President Scott Coker recently announced a heavyweight grand prix for 2018, featuring some of the most recognizable big men in all of mixed martial arts (MMA), as well as a handful of light heavyweights who will be jumping up to challenge for the 265-pound strap.
The promotion is expected to crown a new heavyweight champion when the tournament concludes in the latter part of 2018; however, the brackets and event dates have yet to be established.
Already confirmed for the heavyweight grand prix is former PRIDE FC deity Fedor Emelianenko, along with ex-UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. They’ll be joined by ZUFFA imports Matt Mitrione — who already holds a win over Emelianenko — and Roy Nelson, who previously dropped a decision to Mir.
“I think there are certain fights that people want to see,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “Believe me, we’re going to have some amazing matchups in this tournament. These fights that we’re going to put together are something that the fans want to see. These are iconic names, big brands.”
In addition to the aforementioned heavyweights, light heavyweight sluggers Ryan Bader, Muhammad Lawal, and Chael Sonnen, along with the newly re-signed Quinton Jackson will all be in action.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir targeted for Bellator heavyweight tournament
The first Bellator heavyweight tournament booking is close to being finalized.
Former Pride FC heavyweight kingpin Fedor Emelianenko will take on former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in April, sources told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani. The fight is agreed, but contracts have yet to be signed. Frank Mir also announced the news through his podcast on Saturday morning.
Mir (18-11) received a two-year USADA suspension after failing an in-competition drug test for dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT) following his loss to Mark Hunt back in March 2016. Mir will be eligible to return to action on April 7.
Mir, a former interim and undisputed UFC titleholder, is currently on a two-fight with defeats to Andrei Arlovski and Hunt. His last win was against Todd Duffee at UFC Fight Night 71 back in 2015.
Emelianenko (36-5, 1 no-contest) is looking for his first win in the United States since 2009, when he finished Brett Rogers in his Strikeforce debut.
“The Last Emperor” returned from retirement in 2015 to improve his winning streak to five, stopping Jaideep Singh and winning a controversial decision over Fabio Maldonado, but recently lost to Matt Mitrione in his Bellator debut.
The eight-man heavyweight tournament is expected to kick off in January, and also features Mitrione, Roy Nelson, Ryan Bader, Muhammed Lawal, Quinton Jackson and Chael Sonnen. Bellator has yet to announce the other three quarterfinals.