Bellator Notebook

Bellator 88 took place this past week in Duluth, Georgia which is a 40 minute drive outside of Atlanta and I was there covering the fight card.DSC02671

During my two days in Georgia covering Bellator 88, I was able to find out some news and notes about things going on with Bellator.

Following the weigh-in’s, I had a chance to sit down with Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney and we discussed Fight Master, Pat Curran, Ben Askren and more.

Fights on Fight Master will count towards fighters official record
Fight Master is the reality show that Bellator and Spike TV are producing that will debut in the summer of this year. Earlier in the week, it was announced that the coaches would be Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock, Joe Warren and Greg Jackson. Rebney did confirm that the fights on the reality show would count towards a fighters record. He feels that the fights are important, since the winner will receive a spot in an upcoming Bellator tournament and the fights should not be considered exhibitions.

Pat Curran headlines season eight finale in Atlantic City
On Wednesday, Bellator announced that the season eight finale will take place on April 4th from Revel Casino in Atlantic City with the card being headlined by Pat Curran defending the featherweight title against Daniel Straus. Curran is coming off a win at Bellator 85 against Patricio Pitbull. After getting his foot checked out and being cleared by a doctor, Curran called Rebney and said he wanted to get back in action. He asked Rebney when he could get another fight and he mentioned fighting in the summer. However, Curran asked if it was possible to get in earlier and thats how Curran ended up being place on the season eight finale card.

Jessica Eye returns on April 4th and Zoila Gurgel signs with Invicta
The April 4th card will also have a 125 lb women’s bout as Jessica Eye will take on Munah Holland. Bellator is still planning to have a 125 lb women’s tournamant and that could take place in 2013. Bellator has decided that there women’s division will be in 125 lbs instead of 115 lbs. Rebney told me that they are looking at having the women’s 125 lb tournament in either the upcoming Summer Series or Season Nine, which will begin in the fall.

Speaking of the women’s division, Rebney confirmed that 115 lb champion Zoila Gurgel has left the company and has signed an exclusive deal with Invicta FC. She became the Bellator champion when she won the inaugural women’s tournament in season three, but never defended the title. Her last three fights in Bellator were at flyweight and most recently was defeated by Eye at Bellator 83.

Ben Askren vs. Andrey Koreshkov targeted for Summer Series
Welterweight champion Ben Askren successfully defended his title against Karl Amoussou at Bellator 86 and his next title challenger is already set as Andrey Koreshkov won the season seven tournament. Askren is already back in training and wants to return to the Bellator cage soon. Bellator is targeting to have Askren defend the title against Koreshkov in the Summer Series and the fight is likely for either June or July.

Brent Weedman likely needs surgery
Bellator announced at the beginning of the week that Brent Weedman is out of the welterweight tournament with an injury. He was set to face Douglas Lima in the semifinals, but a hand injury has forced him out and he has been replaced by Bryan Baker. At the Bellator 86 Post Fight Press Conference, Weedman had ice on his hand but he did not believe his hand was seriously hurt. However, Rebney told me that surgery is likely for Weedman and he will likely be out of four months.