Bellator MMA and middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko agreed to terms on a "multi-year, multi-fight" contract extension which will keep the Russian fighting under the Bellator banner for the foreseeable future, promotion officials announced Monday.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Bellator has been my home for many years, and it's where I want to be," Shlemenko said in a statement. "Bjorn (Rebney) made me a promise and he lived up to that promise to provide me with a new deal. I have made a home here at Bellator, and I will continue to represent Russia in my efforts in the cage. I have gained millions of new fans both in the US and in Russia and around the world during my time with Bellator, and I will enjoy being Bellator's longest running champion. I will continue wearing that belt with honor during my time with Bellator, which will now be at the peak of my career."
Still just 29 years old, Shlemenko (49-7) captured the vacant Bellator middleweight strap following the departure of Hector Lombard in 2012. Shlemenko has gone on to successfully defend his belt twice in the time since, pushing his Bellator record to a sterling 10-1.
"Alexander Shlemenko has been with this organization since its infancy, and has grown into one of the most dominant champions in MMA," said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. "I can say without hesitation Alexander has been a large part of the success we have enjoyed over the last five years and as the biggest name in Russian MMA, he's been the catalyst to the largest TV deal in the history of MMA in Russia. It's an honor to have him fight in this organization. I look forward to watching his career continue inside the Bellator cage for years to come."
Shlemenko is expected to put his current 12-fight win streak on the line when he faces season nine middleweight tournament winner Brennan Ward on March 28, 2014 at Bellator 114.