Bellator MMA was founded in 2008 by Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. Bellator features “The Toughest Tournament in Sports”, which is comprised of a single-elimination format that awards the winner of each eight-person or four-person tournament a guaranteed world title fight against the current Bellator World Champion in the applicable weight class.
Rebney’s philosophy was very simple: Create a combat sports business model that mirrored the real sports format followed by every other major sport on earth. At Bellator, fighters control their own destiny through their performance inside the cage, instead of being controlled by a matchmaker or promoter who chooses the next contender for a world title based on what they believe they can sell to consumers. At Bellator title shots are earned, not given.
In December 2011, media giant Viacom acquired a majority stake of Bellator and in January, 2013, all Bellator events began airing on Spike TV to Spike’s 100 million home universe weekly. Bellator produces nearly 25 live events annually, as well as shoulder programming including fighter features, highlight shows and reality based programming.
Featuring a large collection of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts, including Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Michael Chandler, Eddie Alvarez, Pat Curran, Daniel Straus, Eduardo Dantas, Douglas Lima, Vitaly Minakov, Attila Vegh, Alexander Shlemenko, Emanuel Newton, “King Mo” Lawal and a bevy of others, Bellator’s exponential growth has now exceeded 140 countries around the world. Bellator fighters enter The Toughest Tournament in Sports from countries across the globe, including Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, The United Kingdom, France, Russia, Africa and America to name just a few.
Bellator includes weight classes from Bantamweight (135 pounds) through Heavyweight (265 pounds). And, each Bellator tournament in each weight class is conducted over a three month period. Each tournament begins with the opening round featuring eight fighters in that respective weight class, moving onto the semi-finals and then the finals. For 4-man tournaments, only the Semi-finals and Finals are included. Each Tournament is single elimination and there is a one month break between opening round, semi-finals and finals.