Bellator MMA has announced that they will no longer promote women’s fights after they released Jessica Aguilar, Jessica Eye and Felice Herrig from their contracts with the promotion.
Aguilar and Eye are currently free agents while Invicta FC announced earlier today that they had signed Herrig to an exclusive contract.
After today’s moves, Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney issued a statement to explain why the promotion decided to stop promoting women’s fights and releasing all of the women’s fighters from their contracts.
“Jessica Eye, Jessica Aguilar and Felice represent all that is good in women’s MMA,” Rebney said in a statement sent to TheMMAReport.com. “Both Eye and Aguilar are ranked #1 in the world in their respective divisions and carry themselves with class and distinction elevating the women’s game. I’ve said many times that fighters need to fight and fight often. Given our current focus, we are not in position to provide these very deserving women regular and reoccurring fights on a large platform. And, I felt it was best to let them go and secure options that did. I genuinely wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors and will be rooting for each of them wherever they fight.”
Bellator MMA had been holding women’s fights since the beginning of the promotion and Zoila Gurgel became the first women’s champion in Bellator’s history when she defeated Megumi Fujii in the strawweight tournament. While she would never defend the title, she won two of her next three fights in the promotion before taking a fight in Invicta earlier this year.
Aguilar and Eye will most likely be signed by another organization in the near future. Both ladies could end up joining Herrig in Invicta FC and would both be instant title contenders. Eye is already considered the top flyweight fighter in the world and Aguilar is on a seven fight win streak which includes a win over Invicta FC champion Carla Esparza.
Bellator will now focus on their men’s division which they will promote fights in the bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions.