Bellator president Scott Coker went on Ariel Helwani’s ESPN MMA Show on Monday and disclosed the news that his marketing is thinking about conducting a 16-man featherweight grand prix tournament. According to Coker, the tournament will start operating in October and will feature 16 of their top featherweights in Bellator, including fighters in the division in addition to bantamweights moving up and possibly even lightweights moving down. The featherweight championship follows at the forefront of this advertising’s heavyweight grand prix, which just saw Ryan Bader crowned winner, and the welterweight tournament, which is still ongoing. Coker advised Helwani he wants the very first round of eight fights in the tournament to take place on a single night or about back-to-back nights at the fall. In addition, he said he wants the championship to complete within a year, which nearly mirrors the heavyweight and welterweight tournament timelines. As far as that will be among the 16 fighters in the tournament, so far nobody has been declared, however, Coker did state he wants Bellator featherweight champion Patricio”Pitbull” Freire to be a part of the tournament. Pitbull is shooting on Michael Chandler in May for its Bellator lightweight title, so if he will take part in the championship he will be the champion, meaning his belt is going to be at stake in each round of this tournament just like Rory MacDonald’s welterweight title is online each time he fights. So far as some other featherweights who are expected to maintain the championship, here are some who appear to be close locks: Rising prospect AJ McKee; leading rival Henry Corrales; former champ Daniel Straus; former champ Pat Curran; former high prospect Aaron Pico; former title competition Emmanuel Sanchez; and former UFC fighter Sam Sicilia. The fact there are not 16 featherweights means that bantamweights will also be encouraged to move up, and Coker already said that James Gallagher and Darrion Caldwell will be asked to take part in the tournament. I’d also anticipate Ricky Bandejas and Juan Archuleta to be requested, as well. As far as lightweights go, there might possibly be a couple of fighters who could create the cut down a weight class involving Derek Campos, who just fought featherweight in his final struggle, and Ryan Scope, who just lost a close struggle against Patricky”Pitbull” Freire. It’s exciting to see Bellator continue to hold these tournaments as the game of MMA was build on the tournament format. The promotion’s bedrock back at the Bjorn Rebney days has been the championships but when Coker first came in they started to go away in trade for superfights and legends fights. Nonetheless, it seems like Coker, Bellator, Paramount and DAZN adore the tournaments as it is the third one the advertising will be running over the previous couple of years. Now, you need to wonder what another tournament for Bellator will be, and if I had to guess it could be something in the women’s divisions. For the time being, though, featherweight has become a fantastic set of fights. Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links and MMA Odds Breaker is going to be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the hyperlinks. Read more: