Bellator president, Scott Coker today announced the participants in the promotion’s first Featherweight tournament.
Following the success of the tournament format at Heavyweight and Welterweight, Coker revealed the following match-ups to take place in September 2019:
September 7th – San Jose, California
Daniel Straus vs Derek Campos
Sam Sicilia vs Pedro Carvalho
Emmanuel Sanchez vs Tywan Klaxton
Pat Curran vs Adam Borics
September (Date TBC) – Los Angeles, California
Patricio Pitbull (c) vs Juan Archuleta
Daniel Weichel vs Saul Rogers
AJ McKee vs Georgi Karakhanyan
Darrion Caldwell vs Henry Corrales
The announcement came earlier today on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show, a platform from which Coker enjoys to break news. In fact, during the interview he declared that none of the fighters in the tournament (outside of pitbull and Archuleta) knew their opponents prior to the announcement.
Bellator is really being inventive here, Coker says that all fighters were excited by the format and there was no push-back on the ‘big reveal’ approach.
Coker explained that the opening 16-man round will be made up entirely of 3 round contests. Once the participants are whittled down to 8 by September 28th, there will be a live random draw with the fighters to decide the next round of match-ups.
The tournament will conclude in September 2020, with the eventual winner not only getting the title, but also $1 million.
Headlining the Los Angeles event will also be a superfight between recently de-throned Welterweight king, Gegard Mousasi and Lyoto Machida.
A noticeable exception from the tournament is Aaron Pico, who, to date, has failed to reach the stardom once predicted for him. Asked about this, Coker said,
“Aaron is an athlete we still have a huge amount of respect for. We still are in the Aaron Pico business, and we thought this may be a good time for him to take a step back before he moves forward. We are going to meet his management here in the next two weeks and have a conversation and figure everything out. As far aso Aaron fighting goes, he may end up on the alternate slot, so maybe he can earn his way into the tournament.”