Bellator MMA has one again amended their tournament format.
On Thursday afternoon, the promotion revealed that all past tournament winners will now be granted title shots without the need to reenter the tournament again. This means that tournament winners will now permanently belong to a "World Title Pool" that is eligible for title shots. MMAFighting.com's Luke Thomas was first to report the news.
"Just like we've done since day one, any fighter who wins The Toughest Tournament in Sports will still be guaranteed a World Title fight," Rebney said. "The addition I'm making here, that I'm really excited about, is if you've won a tournament, you'll join an elite group of athletes who we can grant a world title fight to at any time."
Since these eligible few will remain outside of the tournament structure, they will likely be put against recent acquisitions and earn a title shot based on their performance.
"For example, if you win a tournament, fight for the World Title and lose, you forever remain in that elite group of fighters who can be awarded another shot at the title," Rebney explained. "We will place some fighters back into tournaments, while others may lose a world title fight, win some non-tournament fights and be awarded another shot at the title. We won't be implementing any hard and fast rule as to when a fighter will go back into a tournament and when he'll fight non-tournament fights and potentially be granted another title shot. What's great about this addition is that it allows us to stay true to our core format, where title shots can only be earned through a tournament win, while also providing us tremendous flexibility to make the great fights fans want to see. And, we can do all this while keeping our fighters busy and battling in meaningful fights on a re-occurring basis. This is another step in our constant evolution and most importantly it's a win for the fighters and the fans."
Previous tournament winners are still eligible to reenter tournaments if they chose to do so.