Make that three UFC Hall of Famers who have joined Bellator MMA. On Wednesday, Bellator president Scott Coker announced UFC legend Royce Gracie has become the company’s official brand ambassador.
“I have known Scott for a long time and have always respected him as not only a promoter but as a martial artist who has always treated fighters with respect and truly understands their value,” Gracie said. “Bellator and Viacom want to give fans exciting fights and enable fighters to continue to grow and most importantly provide for their family, and it’s something I want to be a part of. UFC has done a great job over the past twenty years in building this sport and taking it globally and I’m glad to have been part of that, but Bellator is a growing organization I am honored to be a part of, and with the dedicated and talented people already associated with the company, we can further the growth of mixed marital arts as a sport worldwide.”
Effective immediately, Gracie will help promote Bellator events, host seminars, partake in autograph and promotional appearances, as well as aiding in the International expansion of Bellator around the world.
Bellator and Gracie will also be involved in a co-branded merchandise line that will debut in 2015.
“To call Royce a legend would be an absolute understatement,” Coker said. “Royce and the Gracie family are directly responsible for making this sport what it is today and we are incredibly fortunate to have him be a part of the Bellator family. Royce will serve in many different capacities for Bellator and I look forward to our fighters, staff and most importantly, our fans, in having the chance to interact with one of the most iconic figures in sports.”
Gracie now joins Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar as UFC Hall of Famers to transition to Bellator, the UFC’s biggest rival. Randy Couture was even involved with Bellator for a brief moment as coach on “Fight Master: Bellator MMA” reality show.
Ortiz and Bonnar headline Bellator 131 on November 15, which will go head-to-head with UFC 180 on pay-per-view.