Last week Bellator Fighting Championships announced the addition of UFC veteran Ben “Killa B” Saunders (#59 Welterweight) to its roster. “I’m here to test myself against anyone that they throw against me,” Saunders was quoted in a press release. “I want to be the best. I want to be a champion, and that’s my goal. I’m here to kick some ass, make some money, and take a belt along the way.” Saunders’ championship aspirations will have to be put on hold at least for the duration of Bellator’s fourth season, as Saunders will not be competing in the upcoming Season 4 Welterweight Tournament. Company CEO Bjorn Rebney has said on numerous occasions that title shots will go to tournament winners only, otherwise the tournament format is rendered moot.
Bellator Season 4 kicks off live on MTV2 at on Sat., March 5, 2011 at 9 p.m. EST from Tachi Palace Resort & Casino in Lemoore, Calif. Bellator previously announced its upcoming Featherweight and Welterweight Tournaments. The Featherweight bracket features unheralded Nazareno Melagarie, Patricio Freire (#21 Featherweight), Wilson Reis (#23), Daniel Straus (#20), Georgi Karakhanyan (#29), Kenny Foster, Zac George and Eric Larkin in the Featherweight Tournament field. The tournament winner will take home $100,000 and a shot at Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren (#2)
The Welterweight Tournament features Jay Hieron (#19 Welterweight), 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 Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren (#16). Both Lozano and Hawn will enter our rankings after their first tournament fight.
The promotion’s inaugural Light-Heavyweight Tournament is the other officially-announced component of Bellator’s upcoming fourth season, which will air on MTV2. In the coming weeks, Bellator will announce the rest of 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.