Although several former UFC fighters have already made the move to Bellator MMA in the past, former 155-pound champion Benson Henderson is one of the biggest and most accomplished names that has signed with the UFC's strongest competitor. According to Bellator's CEO Scott Coker, he won't be the last one either.
"I think this is just the tip of the iceberg," Coker said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "Fighters are fighting out their contracts. They want to negotiate. They really want to see what their value is. We're going to help them to define what their value is. It's always good for the industry to have more than one bidder."
Henderson announced his move to Bellator on Monday, and not many details on his contract have surfaced yet. His former employer, UFC president Dana White, claimed the UFC's offer was higher than Bellator's, but that Bellator offered more money "up front".
It is no secret that more than a few UFC athletes are unhappy with their current payscale and the compensation they receive from the Reebok sponsorship. According to Coker, we could indeed see more UFC talent look for better contracts over at Bellator, where they will receive a warm welcome.
"All these free agents that are out there aren't just testing free agency just to test it. I think there are other fighters out there that we'll get," Coker said. "I've always said we're going to build our roster from the ground up and then buy the free agents from the top down that we want. [...] By the end of this year, I think we're gonna have a really good roster on our hands and some really big fights ahead of us."
(Transcription via MMA Fighting)