Bellator adjusts tournament structure


Spike TV President Kevin Kay spoke with Luke Thomas last month about the difficulty of Bellator's tournament structure.

"I think the tournament structure is hard," said Kay. "In no way do I mean that in a negative, as in we don't like the tournaments. It's just the explanation of it and the consistency of it and the injury quotient makes it hard for the audience to follow sometimes. They just have to continue to do a better job of explaining it and continue to do a better job of executing on it and keep your fingers crossed, hoping there's fewer injuries."

Now Bellator has adjusted the league's defining format. Formerly, in order to earn a title shot, you had to make it through a tournament. Going forward winning a tournament means you can get multiple title shots, without going back and winning another tournament.

The change is retroactive, so all fighters who have won a tournament in the past are now eligible for a title shot, at the discretion of the league. Previous tournament winners can enter a new tournament, if they want to.

The current pool of 33 title-eligible fighters, by weight division, is:

Bantamweight: Eduardo Dantas, Joe Warren, Marcos Galvao, Rafael Silva
Featherweight: Pat Curran, Patricio Pitbull, Daniel Straus, Shahbulat Shamhalaev, "Frodo" Khasbulaev, Daniel Weichel, Joe Warren.
Lightweight: Eddie Alvarez, Will Brooks, Michael Chandler, Pat Curran, Rick Hawn, Dave Jansen, David Rickels
Welterweight: Douglas Lim, Karl Amoussou, Andrey Koreshkov, Rick Hawn
Middleweight: Alexander Shlemenko, Brennan Ward, Doug Marshall
Light Heavyweight: Emanuel Newton, Rampage Jackson, King Mo, Christian M’Pumbu, Atilla Vegh,
Heavyweight: Vitaly Minakov, Alexander Volkov, Cheick Kongo

The move will allow the organization to have Alvarez vs. Chandler 3.

"We're not moving away from the tournament format because it's what makes us who we are," said Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney to Thomas. "It isn't going anywhere. It's what we're all about, but if you can make a format change that opens up bigger and better opportunities for fighters and at the same time gives us bigger and better and more entertaining fights for fans, we're going to make that change.

"We're going to stay true to the format. It's still going to be there and it's still going to have the tournaments. You're still going to have to win that tournament to get a shot at a world title, so you're never taking away the core element where title shots are earned here, but you are giving yourself some great flexibility."

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Recent Comments »

JustAble site profile image  

6/13/14 11:03 AM by JustAble

That's what I'm saying. I know how it will work. I just would still like to see some fights happen like King Mo vs Vegh - not in a tournament final either.

doerksenfan site profile image  

6/13/14 6:39 AM by doerksenfan

"Best idea.. ever!" - Rick Hawn

sssfRyan site profile image  

6/13/14 6:36 AM by sssfRyan

You gotta love how much they've cheapened their tournaments to the point where they're almost completely meaningless now. It will be good for the fighters though, to help them stay more active

mikmacdo site profile image  

6/12/14 11:52 PM by mikmacdo

Isnt this similar to how soccer is done in europe?

Fed site profile image  

6/12/14 11:45 PM by Fed

ya, they've earned their right to the title shot from their performance in a tournament, brotha

smth416 site profile image  

6/12/14 8:17 PM by smth416

But Bellator is where title shots are earned not the toughest tournament in sports.

Doc T site profile image  

6/12/14 7:47 PM by Doc T

So you can just keep continuously asking for belt shots? Seems off

time traveling 12er site profile image  

6/12/14 7:25 PM by time traveling 12er

Better for them. It's too hard to stick to a tourney only format so this gives them lots of options. If they keep cycling through tourney winners, a good chunk of the roster suddenly becomes eligible for a title shot. It makes it even easier than trying to stick to a subjective ranking system since it doesn't matter how a fighter is doing as long as they once won the tourney. Really they should just scrap the tourney all together.

dannyapodaca site profile image  

6/12/14 7:22 PM by dannyapodaca

Sounds good to me. But I will wait to see how it plays out.

Fed site profile image  

6/12/14 7:19 PM by Fed

i think its leet and definitely has a different novel spin on itelite pool of fighters ftw