Bellator previously boasted a roster that included female fighters. After disbanding the divisions, new president Scott Coker is bringing the ladies back.
The promotion announced on Thursday that they have signed Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd to contracts and will help usher in female featherweights in Bellator.
“We’re incredibly excited to bring in two of the best athletes competing in our sport today,” Coker said. “We are making a commitment to bring back the female division to Bellator, and feature some of the world’s best in the Bellator cage.”
Prior to seeing Strikeforce dissolve, Coker helped give Ronda Rousey, Gina Carano, Cris Cyborg, Sarah Kaufman, Miesha Tate and others a chance to shine on the big stage.
Coenen is a former Strikeforce champion who sports an overall record of 21-6. She owns 15 submission wins to her credit, including 12 in the first round.
“After fighting professionally for over 15 years, I am honored to be invited into the Bellator cage,” Coenen said. “Fighting for Bellator brings my spirit back for fighting! It is great to be working together with Scott Coker again as we both have the same vision on fighting. My style is fighting with the objective to knock my opponent out or to submit her. That is exactly what I am planning to do the very first second I step into the Bellator cage.”
Budd has picked up four straight wins and is 6-2 in her career, including a 2011 loss to Rousey.
“I’m ecstatic about the opportunity that Bellator is giving the 145 female division and I’m especially excited to be one of the first females to fight for Scott Coker under the Bellator banner,” Budd said. “This gives me the opportunity to showcase my skills as one of the best fighters in the world on one of the biggest stages in the world.”
The press release added that Coenen and Budd are scheduled to fight later this year on Spike TV.
Tuesday was a day of sorrow for Daniel Cormier, as he was told his chance at becoming UFC light heavyweight champion will have to wait.
Cormier, who actually has his own knee injury but put off surgery to take the fight, sent Jones a “get well” message on Twitter.
Heal up @jonnybones see u in January! DC
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 13, 2014
Shortly after it was announced that Jones-Cormier would be moved back to 2015, Alexander Gustafsson asked to take back his championship opportunity. Cormier replaced Gustafsson after the Swede was injured in training.
Last year, Gustafsson lost to Jones via decision, but was promised a rematch if he could defeat Jimi Manuwa. He did, and Jones defended his title vs. Glover Teixeira. “DC,” though, doesn’t plan on surrendering his shot.
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 13, 2014
A “leg injury” to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has forced the postponement of one of the most highly-anticipated title fights in recent memory.
Jones and Cormier heated up the level of interest around the fight between former standout wrestlers last week when they got into a scuffle during Ultimate Media Day. The physical altercation led to several verbal battles during following media events, including Jones making a “death threat” to the ex-Olympian.
Cormier replaced Alexander Gustafsson for the September fight after Gustafsson suffered an injury in training. Originally, “DC” was going to have surgery after his recent win over Dan Henderson to repair a knee issue himself.
Making an appearance on FOX Sports 1′s “America’s Pregame,” Cormier stated that Jones should have “toughed it out” and still taken the fight. Some reports are mentioning a torn meniscus and sprained ankle for Jones, to which Cormier currently has a partially torn ACL.
Cormier also received confirmation that he will not be passed over for Gustafsson, who should be cleared to return to training soon, from UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.
Since tickets went on sale last week for the card, refunds will be offered to fans wishing to do so. Deadline for refunds is August 22.
Wanderlei Silva remains dead-set on fighting again as soon as he can.
Despite declining to take a drug test and initially saying he was clean, Silva has admitted to taking diuretics. However, he recently told Ag. Fight that he doesn’t feel as if the Nevada Athletic Commission will suspend him.
“I’m already preparing my defense,” Silva said (thanks to MMAFighting.com for transcribing). “There’s not much to be done, there’s no legislation over me. I don’t have a license and I’m not committed to fight in any event at the moment.
“I will do my defense and, as soon as I have (a fight) coming up, I will do the test and prove that I’m clean to get my license.”
Silva hasn’t fought since a victory over Brian Stann in March of 2013. He appeared on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil to coach opposite Chael Sonnen, and was scheduled to face him in July before the run-ins with the NAC.
Recently, “The Axe Murderer” mentioned a possible third fight with Dan Henderson. “Hendo” seemed down for it on Twitter, and Silva is targeting December to compete again.
“They always do big events at the end of the year, and this fight could happen anywhere,” he said. “I will be ready. I would like to fight in Brazil, but we can fight in Japan or even in the United States. But if it really is against Dan Henderson, I would like it to be in a soccer stadium in Brazil.”
— Dan Henderson (@danhendo) August 6, 2014
Mike Winkeljohn has helped prepare Jon Jones for numerous UFC light heavyweight title defenses.
This September, “Bones” will step inside the Octagon to face Daniel Cormier at UFC 178. The two had a scuffle last week following a press conference, and continued to trade verbal barbs throughout during other interviews.
For Winkeljohn, he believes there is a simple – yet dominating – way for the collision to conclude.
“Submission led to by strikes,” said the coach, when asked on Submission Radio how the fight ends.
While some have wondered if Jones’ level of emotions that were put on display during the altercation will be an issue, Winkeljohn doesn’t see it that way.
“Some fighters, I’d worry about, but Jon’s not that guy,” he said. “The scuffle is unfortunate. It’s a shame, but you can see it happening, that’s what guys do. These guys are fighters, that’s what they do. He steps up, you know, you push me back hard, well I’m gonna push you back harder. So that’s what they do, and it’s almost to be expected in some ways, I’m not that surprised by it.
“It’s a shame because some people don’t understand that mentality in the moment, the emotions that are going on if they’ve never been in there, you know think that these guys are just super violent individuals outside the cage, and they’re not.”