Bellator heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader has signed a new multi-fight deal to stay with the promotion.
First reported by MMA Fighting, Bellator heavyweight and light-heavyweight champion Ryan Bader has signed a new multi-year deal with the promotion. He had previously signed with Bellator after leaving the UFC in free agency and went 5-0 including winning the Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Let’s go! Happy to get an amazing multi year deal done with @BellatorMMA They made me extremely happy and have always been great to work with. thank you @ScottCoker @rich_chou Kogan @magllc
Looking like I’ll stay at heavyweight this next one (Cheick Kongo) pic.twitter.com/ryoklS4eCB
— Ryan Bader (@ryanbader) April 10, 2019
While a new deal is not altogether surprising, how negotiations would play out was more of a mystery. After the finals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix in Los Angeles, Bellator President Scott Coker was asked about Bader’s nearly completed deal and said “I don’t know if that’s accurate. There are champions clauses and things like that. We have quite a bit more time with multiple fights. So we should get with Dave Martin and talk about that but we’ve read [Bader’s] contract.”
Coming off a successful two years in Bellator with victories over the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Matt Mitrione, and Phil Davis for a second time, it was expected that Bader could command large numbers in free agency at a time when ONE Championship and PFL are looking to add to big names their rosters. In re-signing with Bellator, Bader assures himself he will be a centerpiece for the promotion moving forward.
Ryan Bader mentioned the deal on Twitter and reaffirmed that his next fight would be at heavyweight to take on Cheick Kongo who recently defeated former champion Vitaly Minakov. No date has been set for the fight but it will likely take place in the summer to continue the streak of stacked events including the champion vs. champion bout between Michael Chandler and Patricio Pitbull as well as the upcoming return to Madison Square Garden.