On Thurs., Bellator announced the addition of Jay “The Thoroughbred” Hieron (#19 Welterweight) to its Season 4 welterweight tournament. The UFC, Strikeforce, and IFL veteran is on a seven-fight win streak, but found himself adrift when Affliction abruptly abandoned its fight promotion, and unable to get traction within Strikeforce following wins over Jesse Taylor and Joe Riggs. Hieron has not fought in a full calendar year.
“This is the exact type of situation I wanted to be in right now. With the tournament format, there’s no politics, no golden boys, and nobody getting protected, there’s none of that. If you win you move forward, and that’s that. That’s the bottom line and that’s exactly what I was looking for,” Hieron was quoted in the press release. “I feel like I’ve been through as bad a situation that somebody can go through in their career, and I’m still here. Not only that, but my body’s right, I’m healthy, and I feel like it’s my time.”
Hieron joins Steve Carl (#43), “Judo” Jimmy Wallhead, former Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good (#38), Dan Hornbuckle (#57), Brent Weedman (#84), Chris Lozano, and former Olympic judoka Rick Hawn as they compete for $100,000 and a shot at Askren. Both Lozano and Hawn will enter our rankings after their first tournament fight.
The promotion’s inaugural Light-Heavyweight Tournament is the only other officially-announced component of Bellator’s upcoming fourth season, which will air on MTV2. In the coming weeks, Bellator will announce its season four tournament participants. To date, the other announced fighters for season four are Joe Riggs, Daniel Gracie and Ron Sparks.
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 (#11 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.