Bellator Continues Snatching Up UFC Stars, Signs Roy "Big Country" Nelson

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MMAFighting- Roy Nelson (22-14) has signed an exclusive, multi-fight contract with Bellator MMA, MMA Fighting has confirmed with multiple sources. The promotion is expected to officially announce the signing in the coming days.

Nelson’s UFC contract expired following his unanimous decision loss to Alexander Volkov in April. While his Bellator debut has yet to be finalized, the early plan is for him to fight in the fall.

I gotta admit, seeing this announcement come across my Twitter timeline made me gasp a bit. It shouldn’t, because it’s honestly not THAT surprising, and makes a lot of sense. Roy Nelson is 40 years old, clearly on the back end of his career (losing 5 of his last 7), and had some issues with Dana White and the UFC in recent months. That being said, he’s still a massive fan favorite (lol fat joke right there) and still has hands of stone and a chin of steel. Bellator is looking to really build up their heavyweight division (and their whole company, really) and Nelson’s a perfect addition.

Now with signings like this, Rory MacDonald, Benson Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and many others, it’s clear Scott Coker is dead set on becoming competition for the UFC, and moving away from the Kimbo Slice vs Dada5000 “freakshow” fights, and wants to be taken seriously. The UFC kinda shot themselves in the foot with the Reebok deal, because now if fighters are smart they’ll jump ship as soon as their deal expires due to the tens of thousands of dollars to be made and lower level of competition (it’s getting better but still a work in progress). I’d be willing to bet that Matt Mitrione beats Fedor at Madison Square Garden on June 24th, and he’ll then meet “Big Country” Roy Nelson for the vacant Bellator Heavyweight Championship in the fall, which is a banger.