Bellator's four-man, one-night tournament will have a reserve match. But the victor will only make an appearance in the finals under unique circumstances.
If a semifinal winner gets injured and cannot advance, the semifinal loser he beat will move on to the finals, according to the Bellator rules sheet obtained by MMA Fighting. Bellator is referring to it as the "survivor rule." The reserve match winner will only compete in the finals if a semifinal winner and the man he beat gets hurt and both cannot continue.
The tourney will pit four of the best light heavyweights in the promotion against one another at Bellator MMA: Dynamite 1 on Sept. 19 in San Jose. In the semifinals, Phil Davis will make his Bellator debut against former champ Emanuel Newton and Muhammed Lawal takes on Linton Vassell. Francis Carmont takes on Philipe Lins in the reserve match.
As previously announced, the semifinals will be two-round bouts and the finals will be three rounds. Per California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) rules, a mixed martial arts competitor cannot compete in more than five rounds in a given event. Inside the cage, the United Rules of Mixed Martial Arts will be followed, so elbows will be legal.
If there is a draw in the semifinals, each of the three judges will cast a separate ballot listing the fighter he or she thought won the fight. The same thing will happen in the finals, except the separate ballot will be cast by the judges based on performance throughout the tournament.
The "survivor rule" will apply again in the semifinals or reserve bout if a fighter is injured due to an accidental foul. In that case, the fighter in that bout who is not injured (the foul perpetrator) will move on. Or, in the case of the reserve match, be available as a replacement.
That "survivor rule" does not take effect when a fighter is the perpetrator of an intentional foul in the semifinals. If a fighter is injured due to an intentional foul, the perpetrator will not advance. Instead, the winner of the reserve match will compete in the finals.
In the finals, if an injury occurs from an accidental foul or before two rounds have been completed, the result will be a no contest and there will be no tournament winner. If the foul happens after two rounds, the bout would go to the scorecards. If at that point it is a draw, the judges will cast the additional ballot and choose whom they feel should be awarded the tournament championship based on performance throughout the tourney.
Like any fight in a state sanctioned event, an athlete will need medical clearance before each bout to compete. There will be a minimum 30 minutes from the time the bell rings ending the second semifinal to when the tournament final begins.