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Bellator Report: UFC Hall of Famer signs; Women’s Featherweight division bolstered




Former Strikeforce founder and CEO Scott Coker appears to be very comfortable in his new role as Bellator President. This week, like every week since he’s taken over for former Bellator President Bjorn Rebney, has been that of the headline grabbing variety.

Probably the most newsworthy event of the week for Bellator was the signing of UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar. Bonnar had announced his retirement from MMA in October of 2012 after being beaten by Anderson Silva in Rio at UFC 153. Bonnar would test positive for a banned substance for the second time of his UFC career following the fight. However, that didn’t stop the UFC from inducting Bonnar into the Hall of Fame alongside his history making cohort Forrest Griffin in the summer of 2013.

After spending some time out of the news following his retirement and subsequent Hall of Fame induction, Bellator MMA would announce the signing of Bonnar yesterday via a press release on their website. If you’re wondering why “The American Psycho” would decide to return, or even whom he will face in his first bout for Bellator, the following quote should answer all of your questions in an instant.

“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. “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.”

The press release would also reveal that Bonnar will likely be involved in an on-air commentating role for Bellator. Bonnar is no stranger to putting his expert analysis on full display for the masses. He’s done so for Titan FC and WEC in the past (cue the Anthony Pettis “Showtime Kick” call).



The signing of top ranked Italian kickboxing and Muay Thai threat Annalisa Bucci was also announced on Wednesday. Bucci joins the red-hot Julia Budd, submission specialist Talita Nogueira, and the legendary Marloes Coenen as the fourth member of Bellator’s 145 lbs women’s roster. Expect all four women (who are all ranked in the top 10) to compete later on this year.

Esther Lin for Strikeforce

Esther Lin for Strikeforce

When Viacom booted Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney out the door, there likely wasn’t anyone on the roster happier than King Mo. Mo has never been one to shy away from sharing his feelings in the past. Whether it be behind closed doors, or even during a live PPV telecast, we all knew this wasn’t just a work when it came to Mo and Rebney. So it wasn’t a big surprise when we heard the news of Mo signing a long-term deal with Bellator with his old Strikeforce buddy Scott Coker at the helm.

“This was one of the easiest decisions I could have made,” Mo said. “After everything that went down over the last six or seven months, I didn’t think this was something that would ever happen, but when Coker came on board with Bellator, everything changed. This is where I want to be. I don’t care who I fight, when it is, or where it is. I get paid to fight, and that’s what I’m going to do for Bellator. That’s it.”

It’s been all positives since Coker has taken the proverbial gavel at Bellator. So, what’s next for Bellaforce? Stay tuned. I have a feeling Mr. Coker is just getting started folks.

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