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Roger Huerta Makes Sense for Bellator

Roger Huerta entering the Bellator Fighting Championships' Season 2 lightweight tournament is a good example of a signing that makes sense for everyone involved.

For Bellator, it gets a likable, charismatic fighter who's a recognizable name to mixed martial arts fans -- definitely the most recognizable member of the lightweight bracket. For Huerta, he enters a tournament in which he'll be favored to win the six-figure jackpot. And for the UFC, he's not a particularly big loss.

Huerta's signing, which was first reported by MMA Junkie and is scheduled to be formally announced on Monday, has long been discussed as making sense because Huerta has ties to the Bellator organization and because he wasn't happy with his UFC contract. It also makes sense because Huerta is a good interview and Bellator tries hard to be media-friendly, and because Huerta speaks Spanish and Bellator has a TV deal with Telemundo.

Huerta won't make as much money upfront in Bellator as he could in the UFC, but if he wins the Season 2 tournament he'd make $100,000 and then get the chance to make more than that in a Season 3 title fight against Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. Huerta made just $21,000 for his last UFC fight, a loss to Gray Maynard. The Bellator lightweight tournament won't be a cakewalk for Huerta, but he's certainly the favorite at the outset.

The departure of Huerta makes sense for the UFC, too. He's a fighter the UFC was happy to promote, but he's by no means a fighter the UFC desperately needed to keep, especially after he ruffled some feathers by complaining about his contract. The UFC can point to the facts that Huerta is on a two-fight losing streak, that he hasn't won a fight since 2007, and that only one of the six guys he beat in the Octagon (Clay Guida) is still in the UFC. This isn't a Dan Henderson situation; the UFC doesn't particularly mind seeing Huerta walk away.

All around, it's a good move. One of many good moves Bellator has made as it prepares for its second season.

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