Bellator MMA and the Grand Prix system has worked so well that Scott Coker is holding one in the lightweight division.
Speaking Wednesday on The MMA Hour, Bellator CEO Scott Coker announced that the promotion would be putting on a lightweight grand prix in 2023.
“If you look at our roster, I think this is the best roster I’ve ever had at Bellator, and it’s taken us about four or five years to get here,” Coker said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids I’m super high on, and we’ve got a lot of good veterans, but if you look at our 155-pound weight class, with [Tofiq] Musayev, and Usman Nurmagomedov, and [Patricky] Pitbull, and Benson Henderson — who is coming off a great win over Peter Queally — I think going into next year, one of the things these guys need to consider is that probably will be our 155-pound tournament next year.
“So some of the fighters might want to stick around and stay a little heavier to try and go after that prize money of $1 million bonus that we give out at the end of the tournament.”
Bellator has run five grand prix over the past few years, but has yet to do one in arguably their most storied division. And while Coker says they have not yet decided who will be the eight fighters guaranteed a spot in the tournament, the promotion has no shortage of options.
“We’re going to get it on and it’s going to be amazing,” Coker said. “I’m telling you, when I saw Musayev fight in Japan in ‘19, and he beat Patricky, I was like, ‘This kid is really good.’ Then we got the opportunity to sign him and Usman. Javier [Mendez, American Kickboxing Academy coach] told me Usman’s going to win the tournament and Javier rarely steers me wrong. But these kids are going to have their hands full. I think it’s going to be an amazing tournament. Brent Primus will be in the mix. We haven’t decided who the eight fighters are going to be, but if A.J. [McKee] decides he likes fighting at 155, he’ll definitely get an invitation to step up. And if he wants to go back to 145, that’s fine. But it’s going to be an amazing tournament next year.”