Exactly one year and one day ago, former Bellator MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney erased all women from his roster. On Thursday, Bellator’s new head honcho brought the ladies back.
Scott Coker has signed featherweights Marloes Coenen (pictured) and Julia Budd to kickstart Bellator’s women’s division.
“We’re incredibly excited to bring in two of the best athletes competing in our sport today,” Coker said. “We are making a commitment to bring back the female division to Bellator, and feature some of the world’s best in the Bellator cage.”
Coenen hinted that something was afoot with Monday’s tweet, “There’s something I want to tell you but I have to wait a little longer…. #MMA”
Coenen and Budd previously worked for Coker when he was running Strikeforce.
Coenen has won two of her past three scraps, but is looking to bounce back from a July 2013 TKO defeat to Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino for the inaugural Invicta FC featherweight title.
“After fighting professionally for over 15 years, I am honored to be invited into the Bellator cage,” Coenen said. “Fighting for Bellator brings my spirit back for fighting! It is great to be working together with Scott Coker again as we both have the same vision on fighting. My style is fighting with the objective to knock my opponent out or to submit her. That is exactly what I am planning to do the very first second I step into the Bellator cage.”
Budd is perfect through her last four outings. She most recently posted a unanimous decision over Charmaine Tweet
in December at Invicta FC 7.
“I’m ecstatic about the opportunity that Bellator is giving the 145 female division and I’m especially excited to be one of the first females to fight for Scott Coker under the Bellator banner,” Budd said. “This gives me the opportunity to showcase my skills as one of the best fighters in the world on one of the biggest stages in the world.”
No word if Bellator intends on adding other female divisions to join the featherweights.
Coenen and Budd are scheduled to square-off later this year.