Bellator MMA

Bellator MMA is an American mixed martial arts promotion company based in Santa Monica, California that is owned and operated as a subsidiary of ViacomCBS. It is one of the largest MMA promotion companies in the world and features many of the upper echelon athletes in combat sports. Its first event was held in 2009, with 222 "numbered" events held as of June 2019. The word Bellator is Latin for "warrior". The company was previously known as Bellator Fighting Championships

Bellator MMA
IndustryMixed martial arts promotion
Founded2008 (2008)
FounderBjorn Rebney
Key people
Scott Coker (president since June 2014)

Bellator MMA currently features notable talents such as Michael Chandler, Ryan Bader, Gegard Mousasi, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Paul Daley, Rory MacDonald, Lyoto Machida, Patrício "Pitbull" Freire, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Michael "Venom" Page, Douglas Lima, and Cris Cyborg, among others.


Bellator was founded in 2008 by former Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. Under Rebney's ownership, Bellator featured "The Toughest Tournament in Sports", which was a single-elimination format that awarded the winner of each eight-person or four-person tournament a check for $100,000 and a guaranteed world-title fight against the current Bellator world champion in the applicable weight class. Since Scott Coker took over as president of the promoter, Bellator has stopped with the tournament format and now follows a more traditional MMA format with multiple 1 vs 1 fights placed on multiple cards throughout the year. Bellator switched their cage from a more traditional octagon, to a less defined one. The cage still has eight different angles, making it an octagon, but it looks more circular than its predecessor.

In December 2011, Viacom acquired a majority stake of Bellator and in January 2013, all Bellator events began airing on Spike. Bellator produced nearly 25 live events annually until 2015, as well as shoulder programming including fighter features, highlight shows and reality-based programming.

In May 2014, Bellator hosted the company's inaugural pay-per-view event from the Landers Center. The event featured a Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Final fight between Rampage Jackson and King Mo, Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks for the Lightweight Interim World Title, Alexander Shlemenko vs. Tito Ortiz, the Bellator Season 10 Heavyweight Tournament Final between Alexander Volkov vs. Blagoi Ivanov and a feature fight between Ricky Rainey vs. Michael Page.

Company timeline

  • Sept. 2008 – Bellator was founded by Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney.
  • Nov. 2008 – Bellator announces broadcast agreement with ESPN Deportes. Bellator becomes the first promoter to secure live MMA programming on any domestic platform on the ESPN family of networks.
  • April 2009- Bellator 1 debuts on ESPN Deportes from Hollywood, Florida's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
  • May 2009- Toby Imada pulls off incredible inverted triangle submission choke over Jorge Masvidal, creating a viral sensation on YouTube collecting over 1.5 million views.
  • July 2009- Sports Illustrated calls Bellator "MMA's success story of the year".
  • Oct. 2009- Bellator announces large-scale agreement with Fox Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo for Bellator's Season 2 & 3.
  • April 2010- Bellator Season 2 debuts on Fox Sports Net from Hollywood, Florida'a Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
  • Dec. 2010- Bellator announces English language exclusive broadcast with MTV2, beginning in 2011.
  • Mar. 2011- Bellator Season 4 debuts on MTV 2.
  • Oct. 2011- Viacom purchases majority stake in Bellator and announces Bellator will move to Spike.
  • Nov. 2011- Nov. 19th Michael Chandler & Eddie Alvarez compete in the Lightweight World Title fight that is widely considered 2011's Fight of the Year.
  • Aug. 2012- Bellator moves corporate offices from Chicago, IL to Newport Beach, CA.
  • Jan. 2013- Bellator begins airing original shoulder programming including "Bellator 360".
  • Jan. 2013- Bellator Season 8 premieres Jan. 17 on Spike to over 1.2 million viewers.
  • Feb. 2013- Bjorn Rebney and Spike President Kevin Kay jointly announce a new Bellator reality show, "Bellator MMA Fight Master".
  • Sept. 2013–Bellator 100 takes place from Phoenix's Grand Canyon University.
  • Sept. 2013- Bellator signs multi-year partnership agreement with Fox Sports Latin America giving Bellator the largest MMA distribution deal in Latin America MMA history.
  • Nov. 2013- Nov. 2nd Chandler vs. Alvarez II delivers 1.4 million viewers on Spike TV and becomes the highest rated MMA TV show on cable during the fall of 2013.
  • May 2014- Promotion held its first international event in Rama, Canada.
  • May 2014- Bellator's inaugural pay-per-view from the Landers Center at Bellator 120.
  • June 2014- Company announces that both Chairman/CEO Bjorn Rebney and President Tim Danaher have left the company.

Tournament format

In the past, Bellator has sporadically featured tournaments, unlike several other MMA promoters. However, in 2015, Bellator President Scott Coker made the decision to drop the 8-man tournament format in favor of smaller tournaments.[2]

Bellator included weight classes from bantamweight (135 pounds) through heavyweight (265 pounds) and tournaments in each weight class were conducted over a three-month period. Each tournament began with the opening round featuring eight fighters in that respective weight class, moved onto the semi-finals and then the finals. For four-man tournaments, only the semi-finals and finals were included. Each tournament was single elimination and there was a one-month break between opening round, semi-finals and finals.

During the tournament, the rules were slightly different from those of a non-tournament fight. Elbow strikes were illegal in the quarterfinal and semifinal tournament bouts due to the high probability of a cut occurring. Elbow strikes were legal in the finals. The tournament final was still three five-minute rounds, since it was not a title fight.

Bellator partnered with Rizin Fighting Federation for the Rizin Fighting World Grand Priz event held on December 29 and 31 2015, sharing King Mo Lawal for the Rizin FF Tournament. The former Pride FC Heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko headlined the NYE Rizin FF main event.[3][4]

Bellator does not run regularly scheduled tournaments, however, they are always an option at Scott Coker's discretion.

Broadcast partners

Bellator cards have aired largely on Viacom-owned channels - originally on MTV2, then moving to Paramount Network (then known as Spike) in 2013 following the end of the channel's contract with the UFC.[5][6]

On June 26, 2018, Bellator announced a five-year streaming deal with DAZN, covering the U.S. and other markets served by the sports-oriented streaming service. Since Bellator 206, this includes all events aired by Paramount Network, as well as seven exclusive cards per-year.[7][8]

Bellator president Scott Coker has expressed hope that Bellator will eventually branch out to broadcast television, a possibility given Viacom's merger with CBS in 2019. However, he is reluctant to discuss it further until such terms have been finalized.[9]


Bellator moved its headquarters from Chicago, Illinois, to Southern California in August 2012. Bellator is now located in Viacom’s Hollywood offices.

Bellator records

Most WinsPatrício Freire18
Youngest ChampionJoe Soto22 Years
Oldest ChampionJoe Warren38 Years
Most FinishesPatrício Freire11
Most KnockoutsPatricky Freire9
Most SubmissionsMichael Chandler
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane
Neiman Gracie
Goiti Yamauchi
Most Decision WinsJoe Warren9
Most BoutsMichael Chandler21
Most wins in title boutsPatrício Freire7
Most title boutsMichael Chandler11
Most consecutive title defensesBen Askren4
Longest winning streakA.J. McKee15
Fastest knockoutHector Lombard0:06
Fastest submissionAviv Gozali0:11


Season One

Bellator Fighting Championships: Season One (April 3, 2009 – June 19, 2009)

During Bellator's first season, events were broadcast nationally on ESPN Deportes in the United States. Bellator 1 took place on April 3, 2009 and like many events that season, aired via tape delay. Tournaments took place in the middleweight, welterweight, lightweight and featherweight divisions with the winners becoming the inaugural Bellator World Champions in their specific weight class. Hector Lombard defeated Jared Hess[10] in the finals of the middleweight tournament to become the 185 lbs. Champion while Lyman Good defeated Omar De La Cruz to secure the Bellator Welterweight Title.[11] In addition, Eddie Alvarez defeated Toby Imada to win the Bellator Lightweight Belt[12] while Joe Soto defeated Yahir Reyes to become the Bellator Featherweight Champion.[13] Color commentary for Bellator's first season was provided by Jon Anik and Jason Chambers.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
MiddleweightHector LombardJared HessBellator 12
WelterweightLyman GoodOmar De La CruzBellator 11
LightweightEddie AlvarezToby ImadaBellator 12
FeatherweightJoe SotoYahir ReyesBellator 10

Season Two

Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Two (April 8, 2010 – June 24, 2010)

For Bellator's second season, events aired nationally on FOX Sports Net in the United States.[14] Season two debuted on April 8, 2010 and like season one, hosted tournaments in the middleweight, welterweight, lightweight and featherweight divisions. Alexander Shlemenko defeated Bryan Baker (fighter) to become the Middleweight Tournament Champion[15] while Ben Askren defeated Dan Hornbuckle to win the 170 lb tournament.[16] Also, Pat Curran defeated Toby Imada to win the lightweight tournament[17] and Joe Warren (fighter) defeated Patricio Pitbull to become the Featherweight Tournament Champion.[18] Season two tournament champions were awarded a check for $100,000 and a title shot against the Season 1 Champions. In addition to the tournament fights, season two was the first season to host non-tournament, non-title super fights for current champions. Three of Bellator's four champions competed in super fights during Season 2. Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard scored the fastest knockout in Bellator history when he defeated Jay Silva in a catch weight bout at Bellator 18.[19] Also, Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez submitted Josh Neer in a catch weight bout at Bellator 17[20] and Joe Soto scored a technical knockout victory over Diego Saraiva in a featherweight bout at Bellator 19.[21] Welterweight Champion Lyman Good was the only champion to not participate in a season two non-title super fight. Bellator also introduced the new commentary team of Jimmy Smith and Sean Wheelock during Season 2.[22]

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
MiddleweightAlexander ShlemenkoBryan BakerBellator 23
WelterweightBen AskrenDan HornbuckleBellator 22
LightweightPat CurranToby ImadaBellator 21
FeatherweightJoe WarrenPatricio FreireBellator 23

Season Three

Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Three (August 12, 2010 – October 28, 2010)

Bellator kicked off its third season on August 12, 2010 with tournaments in the bantamweight, heavyweight, and women's divisions. Zach Makovsky defeated Ed West at Bellator 32 to win the 135 lb tournament and become the promotions first ever Bellator Bantamweight Champion. Also that same evening, Cole Konrad submitted Neil Grove to win the heavyweight tournament and become the first Heavyweight Champion in Bellator history.[23] Zoila Gurgel became the first Bellator Women's Champion when she defeated Megumi Fujii at Bellator 34.[24] The first official title defense took place between defending Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Soto and Season 2 Tournament Champion Joe Warren at Bellator 37. Warren defeated Soto by TKO to become the new Bellator Featherweight Champion.[25] Other championship fights featured during season 3 were Hector Lombard retaining his Bellator middleweight championship by defeating Season 2 Tournament Winner, Alexander Shlemenko[26] and Season 2 Welterweight Tournament Champion, Ben Askren, defeating reigning champion Lyman Good to become the new Bellator Welterweight Champion.[27] Some of the memorable moments from Bellator's Season three are Eddie Alvarez's third round TKO victory over UFC veteran Roger Huerta in a non-title match[28] and Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard's 38 second knockout of Herbert Goodman at Bellator 24.[29]

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
HeavyweightCole KonradNeil GroveBellator 32
BantamweightZach MakovskyEd WestBellator 32
Women's Strawweight (115 lbs.)Zoila GurgelMegumi FujiiBellator 34

Season Four –The MTV2 Partnership

Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Four (March 5, 2011 – May 21, 2011)

Season Four of Bellator began broadcasting nationally on March 5, 2011 and marked the promotions departure from FOX Sports Net to MTV2.[30] Season 4 showcased tournaments in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and light heavyweight divisions. Patricio "Pitbull" defeated Daniel Mason-Straus at Bellator 45 to become the Bellator Featherweight Tournament Champion[31] while Christian M'Pumbu defeated Richard Hale (fighter) the same night to become the first Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion in history.[32] Also, Michael Chandler became the Bellator Season 4 Lightweight Tournament Champion when he defeated Patricky "Pitbull" at Bellator 44[33] while Jay Hieron booked a welterweight title shot by defeating Rick Hawn in the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Championship at Bellator 43.[34] Some of the memorable highlights from Bellator's fourth season include Ben Saunders earning a TKO victory over Matt Lee in his Bellator debut,[35] Richard Hale's inverted triangle choke over Nik Fekete at Bellator 38,[36] a flying knee knockout by Patricky "Pitbull" over Toby Imada at Bellator 39[37] and Hector Lombard's one punch knockout of Falaniko Vitale at Bellator 44.[38] Hale and Pitbull were, respectively, nominated for the 2011 World MMA Awards submission of the year and knockout of the year.[39]

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Light HeavyweightChristian M'PumbuRichard HaleBellator 45
WelterweightJay HieronRick HawnBellator 43
LightweightMichael ChandlerPatricky FreireBellator 44
FeatherweightPatricio FreireDaniel Mason-StrausBellator 45

Summer Series 2011

Bellator Fighting Championships: 2011 Summer Series (June 25, 2011 – August 27, 2011)

In the summer of 2011, Bellator introduced the Summer Series which would feature a featherweight tournament that would decide a challenger for reigning Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren. Like Season 4, the Summer Series was broadcast nationally on MTV2. A total of three events were held during the Summer Series including Bellator 47 which took place at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada. This event marked the first time Bellator held an event outside the United States.[40] In the featherweight tournament, Pat Curran defeated Marlon Sandro with a highlight reel head kick knockout in the finals at Bellator 48 to become the Bellator Summer Series Featherweight Tournament Champion.[41] In addition to the featherweight tournament, Bellator also hosted a number of featured bouts, including Cole Konrad's non-title win over Paul Buentello and Seth Petruzelli securing a knockout win over former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez at Bellator 48.[42]

  • Winner:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
FeatherweightPat CurranMarlon SandroBellator 48

Season Five: The Viacom Era

Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Five (September 10, 2011 – November 26, 2011)

Bellator's fifth season, which began on September 10, 2011, continued to air on MTV2 in the United States as well as in HD on Epix. Bellator Tournaments for Season Five featured the bantamweight, welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight divisions. Additionally, Bellator announced that the preliminary cards for each event would air on as well as Bellator's Facebook page.[43] In the tournament finals, Eduardo Dantas defeated Alexis Vila at Bellator 59 to become the Bellator Bantamweight Tournament Champion[44] while Douglas Lima knocked out Ben Saunders at Bellator 57 to become the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Champion.[45] Also, Alexander Shlemenko defeated Vitor Vianna at Bellator 57 to become the Bellator Middleweight Tournament Champion[46] while the heavyweight final between Eric Prindle and Thiago Santos was ruled a no contest after an accidental groin kick left Prindle unable to continue.[47] Santos failed to make weight for a scheduled rematch causing the bout to be cancelled, and Prindle to be awarded the tournament win by default.[48] On October 26, 2011, Viacom, the parent company of MTV Networks, announced the purchase of a majority stake in Bellator.[49] As part of the deal, Paramount Network, then known as Spike TV, began broadcasting Bellator live in 2013.[50] On November 7, 2011, in an effort to expand to outside markets, Bellator announced a five-year partnership with FremantleMedia that would allow the company to position itself as one of the premier MMA organizations internationally.[51] On November 19, 2011, at Bellator 58, the company hosted what was called the best fight in the promotion's early history.[52] Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez fought Season 4 Lightweight Tournament Champion Michael Chandler in a back-and-forth affair. In the end, Chandler defeated Alvarez via fourth round submission to become the new Bellator Lightweight Champion in a fight that several journalists called the fight of the year.[53][54] Other memorable highlights from season five include Douglas Lima's knockout victory over Chris Lozano at Bellator 53,[55] Eric Prindle's knockout win over Ron Sparks at Bellator 56, Vitor Vianna's knockout of Bryan Baker at Bellator 54 and a pair of knockout victories by Alexis Vila and Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 51.[56]

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
HeavyweightEric PrindleThiago SantosBellator 62
MiddleweightAlexander ShlemenkoVitor ViannaBellator 57
WelterweightDouglas LimaBen SaundersBellator 57
BantamweightEduardo DantasAlexis VilaBellator 59

Season Six

Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Six (March 9, 2012 – August 24, 2012)

Bellator's sixth season began on March 9, 2012 with Bellator 60, when Pat Curran captured the Bellator Featherweight Championship after beating champion Joe Warren. At Bellator 64, Ben Askren defended his Welterweight title against Douglas Lima by unanimous decision. At Bellator 65, Eduardo Dantas defeated then champion Zach Makovsky to become the new Bellator Bantamweight Champion. At Bellator 70, Cole Konrad took down Eric Prindle in the first round to defend his Bellator Heavyweight Championship.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
MiddleweightMaiquel FalcãoAndreas SpangBellator 69
WelterweightKarl AmoussouBryan BakerBellator 72
LightweightRick HawnBrent WeedmanBellator 70
FeatherweightDaniel Mason-StrausMarlon SandroBellator 68
BantamweightMarcos GalvaoLuis NogueiraBellator 73

Summer Series 2012

Bellator Fighting Championships: 2012 Summer Series (June 22, 2012 – August 24, 2012)

In the summer of 2012, Bellator held its second Summer Series which would feature a Light Heavyweight tournament that would decide a challenger for reigning Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Christian M'Pumbu. The Summer Series started June 22, 2012 and was broadcast nationally on MTV2 for a total of three events. In the Light Heavyweight tournament, Attila Vegh defeated Travis Wiuff with a knockout in the finals at Bellator 73 to become the 2012 Bellator Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament Champion. In addition to the Light Heavyweight tournament, Bellator also hosted a number of featured bouts, including a third fight between Marius Zaromskis and Waachiim Spiritwolf at Bellator 72. Bellator also finished two Season Six tournaments with Karl Amoussou defeating Bryan Baker at Bellator 72 to become the Season Six Welterweight Champion, and Marcos Galvao defeating Luis Nogueira at Bellator 73 to become the Season Six Bantamweight Champion. Pat Curran was also set to defend his Featherweight Championship versus Patricio Friere, who is the Season Four Champion, at Bellator 73 but he was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury that occurred during training.

  • Winner:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Light HeavyweightAttila VeghTravis WiuffBellator 73

Season Seven

Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Seven (September 28, 2012 – December 14, 2012)

Bellator's seventh season began on September 28, 2012 with Bellator 74. The season showcased a heavyweight, welterweight, lightweight and featherweight tournament.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
HeavyweightAlexander VolkovRichard HaleBellator 84
WelterweightAndrey KoreshkovLyman GoodBellator 82
LightweightDave JansenMarcin HeldBellator 93
FeatherweightShahbulat ShamhalaevRad MartinezBellator 90

Season Eight

Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Eight (January 17, 2013 – April 4, 2013)

Bellator's eighth season began on January 17, 2013 at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif. The event served as Bellator's premier on Spike TV. Season Eight included featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight tournaments.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Light HeavyweightEmanuel NewtonMikhail ZayatsBellator 94
MiddleweightDoug MarshallBrett Cooper

Bellator 95

WelterweightDouglas LimaBen SaundersBellator 100
LightweightDavid RickelsSaad AwadBellator 94
FeatherweightFrodo KhasbulaevMike RichmanBellator 95

Summer Series 2013

Bellator MMA: 2013 Summer Series (June 19, 2013 – July 31, 2013)

Bellator's 2013 Summer Series began on June 19, 2013. All three of this season's tournaments were contested as four-man tournaments, as opposed to Bellator's standard eight-man tournament. The change in tournament size was necessary in order to hold multiple tournaments during the summer series' shortened season.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
HeavyweightVitaly MinakovRyan MartinezBellator 97
Light HeavyweightMuhammed LawalJacob NoeBellator 97
BantamweightRafael SilvaAnthony LeoneBellator 102

Season Nine

Bellator MMA: Season Nine (September 7, 2013 – November 22, 2013)

Bellator's Ninth season began on September 7, 2013. For this season the bantamweight and heavyweight tournaments were held as four-man tournaments, while all tournaments were the standard Bellator eight-man tournament.

  • Winners:
Weight Division Winner Runner-Up Event
Heavyweight[lower-alpha 1]Cheick KongoPeter GrahamBellator 107
MiddleweightBrennan WardMikkel ParloBellator 107
WelterweightRick HawnRon KeslarBellator 109
LightweightWill BrooksAlexander SarnavskiyBellator 109
FeatherweightPatricio FreireJustin WilcoxBellator 108
Bantamweight[lower-alpha 1]Joe WarrenTravis MarxBellator 107
  1. Four-man Tournament

Season Ten

Bellator MMA: Season Ten (February 28, 2014 – May 17, 2014)

Bellator's Tenth season began on February 28, 2014. For this season the middleweight and light heavyweight tournaments were held as four-man tournaments, while all tournaments were the standard Bellator eight-man tournament.

Weight DivisionWinnerRunner-UpEvent
HeavyweightAlexander VolkovBlagoy IvanovBellator 120
Light HeavyweightQuinton JacksonMuhammed LawalBellator 120
FeatherweightDaniel WeichelDesmond GreenBellator 119
MiddleweightBrandon HalseyBrett CooperBellator 122
WelterweightAndrey KoreshkovAdam McDonoughBellator 122
LightweightMarcin HeldPatricky FreireBellator 126

    Summer Series 2014

    Bellator MMA: 2014 Summer Series (June 6, 2014 – July 25, 2014)

    Bellator's 2014 Summer Series began on June 6, 2014. The 2014 Summer Series featured an eight-man light heavyweight tournament and a series of Season 10 tournament finals.

    Weight DivisionWinnerRunner-UpEvent
    Light HeavyweightLiam McGearyKelly AnundsonBellator 124

    Season Eleven

    Bellator MMA: Season Eleven (September 5, 2014 – November 15, 2014)

    The eleventh season of Bellator MMA was the final season and last promotion for CEO/Chairman Bjorn Rebney. Taking over in his place was former Strikeforce Founder/CEO Scott Coker.


    Bellator MMA in 2015

    This year marked the first time Bellator MMA did monthly shows as opposed to a seasonal format.


    Bellator MMA in 2016

    This year marked the time when Bellator MMA successfully took their fight events overseas.


    Bellator MMA in 2017


    Bellator MMA in 2018


    Bellator MMA in 2019

    Bellator Kickboxing

    Reality show

    On February 5, 2013, Bellator and Spike TV held a press conference to announce the collaboration on an MMA based reality series titled Fight Master: Bellator MMA.[57] The coaches and trainers for the series, which will feature 32 welterweight fighters, will be Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock, Greg Jackson, and Joe Warren. The 32 fighters will be competing for a spot in Bellator's welterweight tournament. The weekly series will culminate in a live season finale on Spike TV with the winner advancing into the fall welterweight tournament. It made its debut on Spike TV on June 19, 2013.[58]

    Fight Master

    SeasonDateWeight classWinnerRunner-up
    Fight Master: Bellator MMA Season 1 November 2, 2013 Welterweight Joe Riggs Mike Bronzoulis


    Bellator MMA follows the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which were first established in April 2000. The Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts have been adopted by every state athletic commission that holds mixed martial arts events throughout the United States.

    Under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts there are no groin strikes, eye gouging, kicking or kneeing a grounded opponent, downward elbows, strikes to the back of the head, head butting, biting, or grabbing the fence. Upon a violation of the rules, referee can either warn the fighter, take a point away, or disqualify the fighter depending upon the regularity and severity of the foul.


    All non-world championship fights in Bellator consist of three, five-minute rounds, with one-minute rest periods between rounds. All world championship fights in Bellator consist of five, five-minute rounds, with one-minute rest periods between rounds.

    Weight divisions

    Bellator currently uses seven weight classes for men:

    Weight class name Upper limit
    in pounds (lb) in kilograms (kg)
    Bantamweight 13561.2
    Featherweight 14565.8
    Lightweight 15570.3
    Welterweight 17077.1
    Middleweight 18583.9
    Light Heavyweight 20593.0
    Heavyweight 265120.2

    Bellator has also held women's bouts at the following weights:

    • 115 pounds (Strawweight)
    • 125 pounds (Flyweight)
    • 135 pounds (Bantamweight)
    • 145 pounds (Featherweight)

    Match outcome

    Matches usually end via:

    • Submission: a fighter clearly taps the mat or his opponent, or verbally submits. Also a technical submission may be called when a fighter either loses consciousness or is on the verge of serious injury while in a hold.
    • Knockout: a fighter is put into a state of unconsciousness resulting from any legal strike.
    • Technical Knockout (TKO): If the referee decides a fighter cannot continue, the fight is ruled as a technical knockout. Technical knockouts can be classified into three categories:
      • referee stoppage (the referee ends the fight because one fighter is unable to intelligently defend himself)
      • doctor stoppage (a ring side doctor decides that it is unsafe for the fighter to continue the bout due to excessive bleeding or physical injuries)
      • corner stoppage (a fighter's cornerman signals defeat for their own fighter)
    • Judges' Decision: Depending on scoring, a match may end as:
      • unanimous decision (all three judges score a win for fighter A)
      • majority decision (two judges score a win for fighter A, one judge scores a draw)
      • split decision (two judges score a win for fighter A, one judge scores a win for fighter B)
      • unanimous draw (all three judges score a draw)
      • majority draw (two judges score a draw, one judge scoring a win)
      • split draw (one judge scores a win for fighter A, one judge scores a win for fighter B, and one judge scores a draw)

    Note: In the event of a draw, it is not necessary that the fighters' total points be equal. However, in a unanimous or split draw, each fighter does score an equal number of win judgments from the three judges (0 or 1, respectively). A fight can also end in a technical decision, technical submission, disqualification, forfeit, technical draw, or no contest. The latter two outcomes have no winners.

    The ten-point must scoring system is in effect for all bouts in Bellator. Three judges score each round with the winner of each round getting 10 points while the loser gets 9 points or less. The only way that an even round can occur is if the fighter that won the round has a point deducted for a foul. Rounds scored 10–8 and 10–7 are typically scored when a fighter wins a round in dominant fashion.


    The following is a list of fouls outlined by the states that regulate MMA, as established by the Nevada State Athletic Commission:[59]

    1. Butting with the head
    2. Eye gouging of any kind
    3. Biting
    4. Hair pulling
    5. Fish hooking
    6. Groin attacks of any kind
    7. Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent (see Fish-hooking)
    8. Small joint manipulation
    9. Striking to the spine or the back of the head (see Rabbit punch)
    10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow (see 12-6 Elbow)
    11. Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea
    12. Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh
    13. Grabbing the clavicle
    14. Kicking the head of a grounded opponent
    15. Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent
    16. Stomping a grounded opponent
    17. Kicking to the kidney with the heel
    18. Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck (see Piledriver)
    19. Throwing an opponent out of the ring or fenced area
    20. Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent
    21. Spitting at an opponent
    22. Engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent
    23. Holding the ropes or the fence
    24. Attacking an opponent on or during the break
    25. Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee
    26. Attacking an opponent after the bell (horn) has sounded the end of a round
    27. Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee
    28. Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury
    29. Interference by the corner
    30. Throwing in the towel during competition

    When a foul is charged, the referee in their discretion may deduct one or more points as a penalty. If a foul incapacitates a fighter, then the match may end in a disqualification if the foul was intentional, or a no contest if unintentional. If a foul causes a fighter to be unable to continue later in the bout, it ends with a technical decision win to the injured fighter if the injured fighter is ahead on points, otherwise it is a technical draw.

    Tournament rules

    During Bellator tournament bouts, the rules are slightly different from those of a non-tournament fight. Elbow strikes are illegal in the quarterfinal and semifinal tournament bouts due to the high probability of a cut occurring. Elbow strikes are legal in the finals. Though the final bout is a tournament championship, it is still three five-minute rounds since it is not a title fight.


    Current champions

    DivisionUpper weight limitChampionSinceTitle defenses
    Heavyweight265 lb (120 kg; 18.9 st) Ryan BaderJanuary 26, 2019 (Bellator 214)0
    Light Heavyweight205 lb (93 kg; 14.6 st)June 24, 2017 (Bellator 180)1
    Middleweight185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st) Rafael Lovato Jr.June 22, 2019 (Bellator 223)0
    Welterweight170 lb (77 kg; 12 st) Douglas LimaOctober 26, 2019 (Bellator 232)0
    Lightweight155 lb (70 kg; 11.1 st) Patrício FreireMay 11, 2019 (Bellator 221)0
    Featherweight145 lb (66 kg; 10.5 st)April 21, 2017 (Bellator 178)2
    Women's Featherweight145 lb (66 kg; 10.5 st) Julia BuddMarch 3, 2017 (Bellator 174)3
    Bantamweight135 lb (61 kg; 9.9 st) Kyoji HoriguchiJune 14, 2019 (Bellator 222)0
    Women's Flyweight125 lb (56 kg; 8.13 st) Ilima-Lei MacfarlaneNovember 3, 2017 (Bellator 186)3

    See also


    1. "Updated monthly". USA Today. 26 October 2011.
    2. Hunt, Loretta (September 4, 2014). "Scott Coker has big plans for Bellator as it closes out its tournament format". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
    3. "Rizin FF – Rizin Fighting Federation 1". Sherdog. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
    4. "Rizin FF – Rizin Fighting Federation 2". Sherdog. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
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