FanPost

Is Bellator suddenly scooping up former UFC talent, or is it 'Business as Usual'?

Tim Burke's recent piece (highly recommended), on the subject of UFC fighters jumping ship to Bellator, got me thinking.

There certainly have been some more high profile names in the news lately (Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and Cheick Kongo, to name a few). That could explain the heightened sense of fan awareness to such matters. However, after doing some digging, it seems to be nothing new. In fact, in the words of Dana White, it's more like "business as usual" (an appropriate reference given what he was referring to at the time).

Having gone back through all previous Bellator fight cards, it's apparent they haven't been shy about using ex-Zuffa talent, whenever and wherever possible (many times as proverbial "sacrificial lambs"). And equally as apparent is that Zuffa are just as willing to flip the script on their end, pilfering both prospects, and former champions, from the upstart promotion. As many media members have pointed out, that is surely a motivating factor in Bellator's hardline approach to their negotiations with Eddie Alvarez.

Nevertheless, here's the list I was able to compile:

ZUFFA TO BELLATOR (in chronological order, based on first Bellator appearance):

Nick Agallar - Fought at UFC 45, before fighting at Bellator 1
Gary Padilla - Fought at WEC 27, before fighting at Bellator 1
Stephen Ledbetter - Fought at WEC 29, before fighting at Bellator 1
Dave Menne - Former UFC middleweight champion, who went on to fight twice for Bellator
Dan Evensen - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 5
Sherman Pendergarst - Fought at UFC 65, before fighting at Bellator 5
Eddie Sanchez - Fought six times in the UFC, before signing with Bellator
Kevin Knabjian - Fought at WEC 28, before fighting twice for Bellator
Bryan Baker - Fought three times in the WEC, before signing with Bellator
Matt Horwich - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting twice for Bellator
Roger Huerta - Fought eight times in the UFC, before fighting three times for Bellator
Chris Manuel - Fought at WEC 33, before fighting at Bellator 13
Ryan Thomas - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting four times for Bellator
Dan Cramer - Fought twice in the UFC, before signing with Bellator
Eric Schambari - Fought three times in the WEC, before fighting three times for Bellator
Luke Zachrich - Washed out of TUF 7, before fighting at Bellator 16
Jay Silva - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting twice for Bellator
Jules Bruchez - Fought once in the UFC, via TUF 8, before fighting at Bellator 18
Charlie Rader - Washed out of TUF 13, before fighting three times for Bellator
Diego Saraiva - Fought three times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 19
Neil Grove - Fought at UFC 95, before fighting six times for Bellator
Brad Blackburn - Fought five times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 25
Shonie Carter - Fought four times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 25
Brian Gassaway - Fought at UFC 54, and WEC 25, before fighting at Bellator 25
John Kolosci - Fought once in the UFC, via TUF 6, before fighting at Bellator 25
Rich Clementi - Fought ten times in the UFC, before signing with Bellator
Anthony Leone - Fought at WEC 49, before signing with Bellator
Josh Rafferty - Fought once in the UFC, via TUF 1, before fighting at Bellator 28
Jameel Massouh - Fought three times in the WEC, before fighting twice for Bellator
Jason Guida - Washed out of TUF 8 without even fighting, before fighting at Bellator 29
Jeremy Horn - Longtime UFC vet, who went on to fight at Bellator 30
Jeremiah Riggs - Washed out of TUF 7, before fighting twice for Bellator
Yoshiyuki Yoshida - Fought five times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 31
Ryan Roberts - Fought once in the UFC, before fighting twice for Bellator
Chad Reiner - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 32
Rob McCullough - Longtime WEC vet, and former lightweight champion, who went on to fight at Bellator 36
Jake Rosholt - Fought in the UFC and WEC, before fighting at Bellator 37
Roli Delgado - Fought three times in the UFC, via TUF 8, before fighting at Bellator 37
Ben Saunders - Fought seven times in the UFC, via TUF 6, before signing with Bellator
Dave Jansen - Fought three times in the WEC, before signing with Bellator
Scott McAfee - Fought at WEC 30, before fighting at Bellator 39
Nick Thompson - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 40
Marcos Galvao - Fought twice in the WEC, before signing with Bellator
Joe Riggs - Longtime UFC vet, who went on to sign with Bellator, and participate in Fight Master season 1
Chase Beebe - Former WEC champion, who went on to fight four times for Bellator
Falaniko Vitale - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 44
Luis Santos - Fought at WEC 34, before fighting four times for Bellator
Chris Horodecki - Fought four times in the WEC, before fighting three times in Bellator
Paul Buentello - Fought six times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 48
Ricco Rodriguez - Former UFC heavyweight champion, who went on to fight at Bellator 48
Seth Petruzelli - Fought four times in the UFC, before signing with Bellator
Abe Wagner - Washed out of TUF 10, before signing with Bellator
A.J. Matthews - Fought once for Strikeforce, before signing with Bellator
Travis Wiuff - Fought in the UFC once, before fighting six times for Bellator
Edgar Garcia - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 55
Steve Steinbeiss - Fought once in the WEC, and twice in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 55
Doug Evans - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 57
Trevor Prangley - Fought four times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 58
Rafael Dias - Fought three times in the WEC, before fighting at Bellator 58
Kurt Pellegrino - 12 time UFC vet, who went on to fight at Bellator 59
Phillipe Nover - Fought three times in the UFC, via TUF 8, before signing with Bellator
Shamar Bailey - Fought three times in the UFC, via TUF 13, before fighting at Bellator 60
Sean McCorkle - Fought three times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 60
Maiquel Falcao - Fought at UFC 123, before signing with Bellator
Marc Stevens - Washed out of TUF 12, before fighting at Bellator 63
Matt Secor - Washed out of TUF 16, before fighting at Bellator 64
Kris McCray - Fought three times in the UFC, via TUF 11, before fighting at Bellator 65
Donny Walker - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 66
Andreas Spang - Fought once for Strikeforce, before signing with Bellator
Shinya Aoki - Fought once for Strikeforce, before fighting at Bellator 66
Akihiro Gono - Fought three times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 67
Paul Daley - Fought three times in the UFC, and three times in Strikeforce, before signing with Bellator
Mike Wessel - Fought at UFC 92, before signing with Bellator
Vinicius Queiroz - Fought at UFC 120, before signing with Bellator
Wagnney Fabiano - Fought six times in the WEC, before signing with Bellator
Brett Rogers - Fought for Strikeforce, before fighting twice for Bellator
Carmelo Marrero - Fought in the UFC four times, and the WEC once, before fighting at Bellator 77
Alvin Robinson - Fought in the UFC four times, before fighting at Bellator 78
Dominique Steele - Fought once for Strikeforce, before fighting at Bellator 78
Joe Vedepo - Fought twice in the UFC, before signing with Bellator
Dustin Neace - Fought once in the UFC, via TUF 14, before fighting at Bellator 81
Doug Marshall - Former WEC light heavyweight champ, who went on to sign with Bellator
Chris Liguori - Fought at UFC 45, before fighting at Bellator 83
Renato Sobral - Longtime UFC vet, and former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, who went on to sign with Bellator
Jason Lambert - Fought six times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 85
Hector Ramirez - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 85
Mike Guymon - Fought four times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 85
Jamie Yager - Fought one in the UFC, via TUF 11, before fighting at Bellator 85
Muhammed Lawal - Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, who went on to sign with Bellator
Ben Lagman - Fought once for Strikeforce, before fighting at Bellator 87
Clay Harvison - Fought three times in the UFC, via TUF 13, before fighting at Bellator 88
Chris Mierzwiak - Fought once for Strikeforce, before fighting at Bellator 89
Lionel Lanham - Fought once for Strikeforce, before fighting at Bellator 90
Blas Avena - Fought six times in the WEC, before fighting Bellator 91
Keith Berry - Fought three times in Strikeforce, before fighting at Bellator 92
Ricky Legere Jr. - Fought once in Strikeforce, before fighting at Bellator 92
Marcus Davis - Fought 14 times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 93
Tony Fryklund - Fought several times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 94
Karo Parisyan - Fought 13 times in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 95
Dante Rivera - Fought once in the UFC, via TUF 7, before fighting at Bellator 95
Tom DeBlass - Fought twice in the UFC, before fighting at Bellator 95
John "War Machine" Koppenhaver - Fought twice in the UFC, via TUF 6, and will make his debut at Bellator 96
Rob Emerson - Fought seven times in the UFC, via TUF 5, and will make his debut at Bellator 97
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson - Fought 12 times in the UFC, and his Bellator debut is TBD
Matt Riddle - Fought 12 times in the UFC, and his Bellator debut is TBD
Cheick Kongo - Fought 18 times in the UFC, and his Bellator debut is TBD
Vladimir Matyushenko - Longtime UFC vet, and his Bellator debut is TBD
Paul Sass - Fought five times in the UFC, and his Bellator debut is TBD
John Alessio - Longtime WEC and UFC vet, and his Bellator debut is TBD
Randy Couture - Longtime UFC veteran, and former champion, before becoming host on the Fight Master reality show
Frank Shamrock - Longtime UFC veteran, and former champion, before becoming host on the Fight Master reality show

BELLATOR TO ZUFFA (in chronological order, based on first Bellator appearance):

Jorge Masvidal - Fought three times for Bellator, and later signed with Strikeforce, and transitioned to the UFC
Alonzo Martinez - Fought twice for Bellator, and later signed with Strikeforce
Estevan Payan - Fought twice for Bellator, and later signed with Strikeforce, and transitioned to the UFC
Daniel Sarafian - Fought at Bellator 1, and later signed with the UFC via TUF Brazil 1
Henry Martinez - Fought at Bellator 2, and later signed with the UFC
Hector Lombard - Former Bellator middleweight champion, who later signed with the UFC
Johnny Eduardo - Fought at Bellator 3-4, and later signed with the UFC
Waylon Lowe - Fought at Bellator 5, and later fought 4 times in the UFC
Justin Edwards - Fought at Bellator 5, and later signed with the UFC via TUF 13
Joey Beltran - Fought at Bellator 5, and later signed with the UFC
Dave Herman - Fought twice for Bellator, and later signed with the UFC
Daniel Pineda - Fought twice for Bellator, and later signed with the UFC
Bubba McDaniel - Fought at Bellator 6, and later signed with the UFC via TUF 17
Jacob Volkmann - Fought at Bellator 7, and later fought 10 times in the UFC
Nick Ring - Fought at Bellator 9, and later signed with the UFC via TUF 11
Shawn Jordan - Fought four times for Bellator, and later signed with the UFC
Chad Leonhardt - Fought twice for Bellator, and later fought once in Strikeforce
Travis Browne - Fought at Bellator 10, and later signed with the UFC
Vagner Rocha - Fought twice for Bellator, and later three times in the UFC
Jake Ellenberger - Fought at Bellator 11, and later signed with the UFC
Nick Pace - Fought at Bellator 11, and later signed with the WEC, and transitioned to the UFC
David Branch - Fought twice in Bellator, and later fought four times in the UFC
Uriah Hall - Fought at Bellator 11, and later signed with the UFC, via TUF 17
Sergio Moraes - Fought at Bellator 12, and later signed with the UFC, via TUF Brazil 1
Rosi Sexton - Fought at Bellator 12, and will make her UFC debut at UFC 161
Mike Ricci - Fought at Bellator 14, and then signed with the UFC, via TUF 16
Tyler Stinson - Fought four times in Bellator, and later three times in Strikeforce
Derrick Mehmen - Fought at Bellator 15, and later twice in Strikeforce
Chuck O'Neil - Fought at Bellator 17, and later once in the UFC, via TUF 13
Johnny Bedford - Fought at Bellator 19, and later signed with the UFC, via TUF 14
Brian Melancon - Fought at Bellator 20, and later twice in Strikeforce
Aaron Rosa - Fought at Bellator 20, and later fought three times in the UFC
Kenny Robertson - Fought at Bellator 25, and later signed with the UFC
Zak Cummings - Fought at Bellator 26, and later washed out of TUF 17
Ulysses Gomez - Fought at Bellator 27, and later fought twice in the UFC
Andrew Craig - Fought at Bellator 27, and later signed with the UFC
Cody Donovan - Fought at Bellator 38, and later fought once in the UFC
Nate James - Fought at Bellator 40, and later fought twice for Strikeforce
Sam Alvey - Fought twice in Bellator, and later washed out of TUF 16
Josh Samman - Fought at Bellator 46, and later signed with the UFC, via TUF 17
Chris Saunders - Fought at Bellator 47, and later fought once in the UFC, via TUF 15
Nik Fekete - Fought twice in Bellator, and later washed out of the preliminary round of TUF 17
Roger Hollett - Fought at Bellator 57, and later fought twice in the UFC
Brandon Saling - Noted white power idiot fought at Bellator 59, and later fought once in Strikeforce
Sean Spencer - Fought at Bellator 62, and later signed with the UFC
Julian Lane - Fought at Bellator 66, and later washed out of TUF 16, despite an overwhelming urge to "bang", bro

FLIP-FLOPPERS
(fighters who have gone back and forth):

Jonathan Brookins - Fought at WEC 36, then at Bellator 1, then signed with the UFC via TUF 12
Joe Duarte - Washed out of TUF 8 in the elimination round, fought at Bellator 13, and then three times in Strikeforce
James Krause - Fought twice in the WEC, then at Bellator 14, and will make his UFC debut at UFC 161
Jeff Curran - Fought five times in the WEC, then at Bellator 14, and then two times in the UFC
Josh Neer - Fought nine times in the UFC, then at Bellator 17, and then five more times in the UFC
Yves Edwards - Fought many times in the UFC, then at Bellator 24, before re-signing with the UFC
J.P. Reese - Fought at Bellator 50, then Strikeforce Challengers 20, then Bellator 87
Jay Hieron - Fought twice in the UFC, four times in Bellator, and then two more times in the UFC
Efrain Escudero - Fought five times in the UFC, then at Bellator 55, and then two more times in the UFC

Of course, some of these fighters mentioned were signed straight from one promotion to other, while others had a stretch on regional shows in between. Said list is not meant to draw any significant conclusions. Just a fun exercise in evaluating how the two organizations (Zuffa and Bellator) have operated, since they've been occupying the same space in MMA.

As I started the list, I was surprised to see that it was leaning much heavier towards Zuffa signings, only to have Bellator come roaring back as their promotion grew. I'm curious how much that had to do with outside influences (from broadcast partners, etc.) and whether we'll see this trend continue as Viacom and Spike TV become more involved. Certainly does make you question Bjorn Rebney's credo that they prefer to develop talent internally.

I'm sure there's a name or two i've left off. If you know of a fighter whose set to debut in one of the respective promotions, who would fit the bill, feel free to comment below. Same goes for any other TUF busts, who may have competed in the elimination round of the show, and never fought in an actual UFC bout. I kept such names on the lists, because they were prospects on the Zuffa radar, at one point or another, regardless of how they faired on the show.

Disclaimer: UFC/WEC/Strikeforce fights that occurred prior to each entity being purchased, by Zuffa, were left off. That means, nothing before UFC 30, December of 2006 (in the case of the WEC), and March 2011 (with regard to Strikeforce).

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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