Former UFC middleweight and The Ultimate Fighter veteran Kevin Casey has signed with Bellator MMA on a multi-year, multi-fight deal and is eyeing a promotional debut in early 2017. Bellator officials confirmed the signing on Monday.
Casey (9-5-1, 2 NC) was one of 13 casualties in a recent round of UFC roster cuts, however he needed less than two weeks to find a new home in the Bellator middleweight division.
A former RFA champion, Casey first rose to mixed martial arts prominence in 2013 as a cast member on the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter. A member of Team Sonnen, Casey quickly exited the UFC following a loss to the late Josh Samman in his Octagon debut, but then rebounded to win his next three fights, including a first-round knockout over eventual TUF 23 winner Andrew Sanchez.
That run earned Casey a second shot in the UFC, where he struggled to a 1-2-1 record with two no contests over six outings. Casey also tested positive for the anabolic steroid drostanolone in a 2014 drug test at UFC 175 in a fight that was originally a 61-second knockout win in Casey's favor.
Casey now joins a Bellator middleweight division that is ruled by reigning champion Rafael Carvalho and features veteran fighters Alexander Shlemenko, Kendall Grove, Hisaki Kato, and Melvin Manhoef, along with top prospect Ed Ruth and noted jiu-jitsu black belt Ralek Gracie.