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Bellator introduces independent divisional and pound-for-pound ranking system

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Bellator has decided to use some prominent media members to participate in their new rankings system.

Bellator 237 in Japan Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

Recently, Bellator announced that they’re moving their programming to Showtime ahead of their planned April 2nd event. They also announced a light heavyweight grand prix that day, with a first-round matchup featuring Yoel Romero and Anthony Johnson.

Now, they’re introducing a rankings system as well.

In a press release that coincided with Bellator CEO Scott Coker’s announcement on the CBS Sports Network, the promotion announced that they will be working with independent company Combat Registry to create divisional and pound-for-pound rankings. There will be seven men’s divisions and two women’s divisions covered, and separate P4P lists for men and women.

The voting panel will consist of 15 media members, which includes John Morgan and Nolan King of MMA Junkie and former Bloody Elbow contributor Shakiel Mahjouri (who now writes for Fightful).

Unlike the UFC, Bellator has laid out pretty strict rules for the voting process:

  • A fighter must have competed once inside the Bellator cage on a current term with the company to be eligible.
  • A fighter is eligible to be ranked for up to 15 months without competing.
  • A fighter remains eligible for 60 days after an indication of retirement, with the organization ultimately determining if the fighter remains active and eligible.
  • A fighter is allowed to be actively ranked in two different weight classes and is eligible to be ranked in an additional weight class once they have competed at least once in that division.
  • A fighter must actively compete in each weight class – a period of inactivity longer than 15 months in a given weight class will result in the removal from that specific weight class, but not necessarily from another division or the overall rankings pool. (With the exception being that a fighter is actively participating in a World Grand Prix tournament in a different weight class.)
  • A fighter serving a non-medical suspension from an overseeing regulatory body and/or the organization for longer than six months will be removed from rankings eligibility. A fighter will remain eligible with a suspension of six months or fewer.
  • The final list of eligible fighters, and the weight classes in which they are eligible to be ranked, will ultimately be determined by the organization.

The promotion will issue their first rankings lists before their April 2nd event, which will be headlined by a Featherweight Grand Prix semi-final fight between Patricio Freire and Emmanuel Sanchez. That fight will also be a title defense for Pitbull.