In a quest to keep champions more active, Bellator has announced four-man tournaments for its upcoming summer series. The competitions will take place in the heavyweight, light-heavyweight and bantamweight divisions.
The opening date for the summer series has yet to be announced and the promotion did not name any entrants into any of the tournament fields, but just a few weeks ago, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMA Fighting that the plan was to get free-agent acquisition "King" Mo Lawal "busy as quickly as humanly possible," after his recent loss, and that he would be expected to go through the tourney gauntlet again. With the inclusion of his weight class in the summer series, he is a near-lock to be a part of the 205-pound field.
When Bellator's regular season returns in the fall, the promotion will return to eight-man tournament fields.
"We are always striving to enhance every aspect of the Bellator formula for our fighters and fans," Bellator CEO & Chairman Bjorn Rebney said in a statement released to the media. "Our champions consistently defending their titles against world class challengers who’ve earned their title shots creates a win/win for those two crucial groups. Three stacked 4-man tournaments over our Summer Series on Spike is another great step in our growth and evolution."
The tourneys are guaranteed to create challengers for Alexander Volkov and Eduardo Dantas, who are the heavyweight and bantamweight champions, respectively. Neither man has a challenger currently lined up.
It would be the first attempted title defense for Volkov, while Dantas successfully retained his belt with a knockout of Marcos Galvao in February.
Meanwhile, light-heavyweight champion Attila Vegh has Emanuel Newton on his docket after Newton captured the 205-pound tourney in season eight. The winner of that Vegh-Newton fight would eventually face the athlete who emerges from the summer tourney unscathed.