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Bellator signs blue-chip prospect Aaron Pico to long-term contract

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Bellator announced Saturday evening they have signed blue-chip amateur wrestling and potential mixed martial arts prospect Aaron Pico to a "long-term contract."

"When it comes to any big decision I make, I sit down with my family, my management team at Zinkin and the people that are around me that I trust," Pico said. "We wanted an opportunity to achieve my dreams in the 2016 Olympics and transition into MMA, and when we sat down with Bellator, Viacom and Scott Coker, everything just sort of fell into place and I couldn't be happier to be here and be a part of the Bellator family."

Pico earned the FILA Cadet world championship in freestyle wrestling in 2014 in Zrenjanin, Serbia, in the 17-and-under age group in the 63 kilogram (139-pound) weight class. He captured the award in his weight class and also won Outstanding Wrestler in both the junior and cadet nationals. In 2013, he won the FILA national champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling as well as the Junior nationals for USA Wrestling in folkstyle (high school and collegiate style). In 2012, at 132 pounds, he was USA Wrestling's Cadet (17-and-under) champion in Greco-Roman, freestyle and folkstyle.

Pico is also a former Golden Gloves champion in amateur boxing. While he has his sights set on a 2016 Olympic team run for U.S.A. Wrestling, Pico regards MMA as his true future profession.

"Simply put, Aaron has all the makings of MMA's next great superstar, and to have him here at Bellator is something special," Bellator President Scott Coker said via release. "Like many of us in the MMA community, Aaron is someone we've been watching closely over the last few years, and after sitting down with Bob Cook and his team, getting a chance to meet Aaron, and hearing his long-term aspirations, the fit became very obvious. I'm not only excited to see what Aaron is going to be able to do in our cage, but also watching him represent our country in 2016 at the Olympics."

No time frame was given for when Pico is expected to make his Bellator or MMA debut.