After failing to come to terms with the UFC, Gegard Mousasi has decided to team up with Scott Coker once more by signing a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA.
‘The Dreamcatcher’ is currently ranked #4 on the UFC’s middleweight ranking and also holds a five-fight winning streak over the likes of former UFC champions Vitor Belfort and Chris Weidman.
Confirming earlier reports to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Mousasi outlined how talks fell apart between himself and the UFC.
“I went to the [UFC Athlete] retreat because I wanted to have a meeting with Dana White (UFC president) and UFC lawyers,” Mousasi explained. “We were close. We negotiated up until the end but the best choice for me was to go to Bellator.”
“I worked before with Scott Coker so I have no problems going with Bellator. I know how I’m going to get treated in Bellator and the opportunities I’ll get there. After the [Chris Weidman] fight, all the options were open and I wanted to have the best deal for me and at the end, Bellator was the better offer for me.
“The UFC was getting close to the Bellator offer at the end but it’s not just the money. I’ve worked with Scott; when Scott promises you something, he delivers. He’s an honest guy, he treats fighters with respect and that’s one of the things that was very important for me to go to Bellator. The money wasn’t just the factor. You’ve never heard one fighter talk bad about Scoott Coker.”
The Dutch fighter had previously talked of his want to re-sign with the UFC but was publicly honest about his disappointment with their offer.
““We want to sign with the UFC,” Mousasi had told ‘UFC Tonight’. “UFC wants to sign also, so I don’t know. They should pay. I’m co-main event all the time, so it’s not like people don’t know me. [The offer] is not good. We don’t like it.”
With the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion now signed to Bellator however, Mousasi would go on to explain on The MMA Hour why his desire to stay with the WME-IMG banner waned in recent time.
“The UFC had always treated me well to be honest. Dana White has alwasy talked good about me. I’m thankful to them. I’m at this point because they gave me the opportunities to be where I’m at now,” Mousasi said. “The thing is with the middleweight division, (Robert) Whittaker won against Jacare (Souza) and he skipped three places in the rankings and fought for the interim title. I thought I was ahead of him, that’s my opinion. I respect Whittaker, congratulations for winning the belt but I think if they would have come to me and said ‘You’re fighting for the interim belt’ things would have been more interesting to me. Those things matter.”
Joining the likes of Rory MacDonald and Ryan Bader to jump ship from the UFC, Mousasi spoke glowingly of his new promotion and the ‘more open minded’ approach that Bellator would afford him.
“Eventually, maybe, a fight against Rory MacDonald is a possibility. It’s the same thing the UFC did, Michael Bisping vs Georges St-Pierre but I think me versus MacDonald would be much better because we are both in our primes,” Mousasi said. “It creates oportunites. I get something to say. I can say I want to go up a division, there’s superfights to be made. I could fight Wanderlei (Silva), not because he’s in his prime but because he has a big name. I could even fight heavyweight, I’m open to it. Thats the good thing about Bellator, I can ask for things. It’s more open minded. The UFC is very strict about those things… those things make me happy to go to Bellator.
“To be honest, my feeling was to go with Bellator all the way from the beginning. I’ve worked with Scott before… with Bellator I can grow with the company. Why would a fighter choose to not go to Bellator where they would be treated better. I want to do my part to make Bellator bigger.”
Mousasi would also speak about his hopes to fight Bellator’s middleweight champion, Rafael Calvalho, and light heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader, during his Bellator tenure but provided a succint summary of the news that he has signed with Bellator MMA:
“I’m here to fight. I’m a fighter. I believe I will be champion there. I believe I could have been champion in the UFC also. I’ll take whoever they put in front of me.”
Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”
MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.
Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.
Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?
I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.
Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?
I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened. They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.
Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?
I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.
It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 15, 2017
Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?
I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 16, 2017
I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.
Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!
Darren Till vs Stephen Thompson set for February 24th in England
Wow! Nobody could have expected this news this morning. Dana White has stated he is moving the UFC Fight Night card in Orlando, Florida to the UK so rising star Darren Till (16-0-1) can face Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (14-2-1) in his backyard.
According to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times, Dana White revealed the news during a Q&A in Santa Monica, California.
Dana White says he’s moving his UFC card from Orlando, moving it to England so popular Darren Till can fight @WonderboyMMA
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) November 8, 2017
Logistically this fight has its problems. White didn’t state that the fight was scheduled to take place in Liverpool, I assume that is plan A for the UFC though. However, on the 24th the Echo Arena in Liverpool is booked by the UK MMA promotion, Cage Warriors.
Although White may be able to throw some money at the promotion, it is unlikely they’ll budge. Another possibility is to co-promote an event with Cage Warriors, but that’s even more unlikely, even though the concept is a great one.
The fight would not make sense in another UK city like Glasgow, Birmingham or Newcastle. Making the fight is strange if it’s unable to be in Liverpool, or at the top of the UFC London card.
The event would be three weeks before UFC London, which is unheard of for events over in Europe. Normally England would be lucky to get two events in a year, let alone a month. Which makes you think it will either be one or the other. European cards are never typically stacked and having two in the space of three weeks in one country would eat into the quality on show in each card.
Could this be another case of Dana White talking too soon, or are we set for two mega UFC fights in the space of three weeks in the UK. We’ll find out soon enough.
Watch: Bellator 185 Prelims
Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.
Complete Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko Fight Card:
Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)
Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez
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