Yesterday Bellator announced the signing of Louisville, Ky.-based heavyweight Ron Sparks.
The heavy-handed fighter has an unblemished record (6-0) in his five year pro MMA career but has had difficulty finding fights. In 2010 alone, Sparks agreed to five fights that never took place. He was booked to fight Ray Mercer at King of the Cage: No Mercy, but Mercer disappeared in the days leading up to the bout. It was the second time a KOTC fight with Mercer fell through, and Sparks lost out on the chance to scrap with Tim Sylvia on a regional show and was also set to face both Bobby Lashley and Shane Del Rosario on Strikeforce cards as well.
“I’ve had so many opponents pull out of fights with me in the past. I guess a lot of guys don’t want to lose to me or they feel like I’m that big of a threat,” Sparks is quoted in the press release. “It’s frustrating because I have to train almost 9 weeks sometimes for fights these guys just to pull out.”
That shouldn’t be a problem next year. Sparks, who already has one Bellator win under his belt, is expected to participate in the second Bellator Heavyweight Tournament, which will take place in 2011 and be broadcast on MTV2. The tournament winner will take home $100,000 and the right to face Cole Konrad for the Bellator Heavyweight Championship. The promotion’s inaugural Light-Heavyweight Tournament is the only officially-announced component of Bellator’s upcoming fourth season. In the coming weeks, Bellator will announce its season four tournament participants. To date, the only other announced fighter is Daniel Gracie.
The promotion currently boasts champions in all men’s divisions but Flyweight and Light Heavyweight. Those champions are Zach Makovsky (#11 Bantamweight), Joe Warren (#2 Featherweight), Eddie Alvarez (#10 Lightweight), Ben Askren (#16 Welterweight), Hector Lombard (#6 Middleweight), Cole Konrad (#24 Heavyweight), and Zoila Frausto, who will likely be at the top of the heap when FIGHT! unveils its Women’s Flyweight Rankings.