Ed Ruth (pictured), one of the hottest free agent prospects in MMA, has just started a trend that many will likely follow. On Monday, Ruth inked a multi-fight contract to join Bellator MMA.
The decorated collegiate wrestler will first focus on the the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio before jumping into the cage.
Although Ruth was recruited by a number of promotions, including industry leader UFC, he said he likes the direction the UFC’s biggest rival is headed. Oh yeah, not being hamstrung by the UFC’s new endorsement deal with Reebok appears to have also played a significant factor in his decision.
“I’ve known for a long time now that after I get Olympic gold around my neck, I was going to go get some MMA gold for my waist,” said Ruth. “I’ve been talking with all the major organizations, and at the end of the day, I really believe in what Scott Coker is doing with Bellator. They’re signing the top talent, they’re putting on exciting fights, and they’re letting me secure my own sponsors. It will be a little while until I step into the cage for the first time — but when I do, everyone they put in front of me is in for a world of hurt.”
Ruth collected three National Championships and four All-American honors while wrestling at Penn State University.
The 25-year-old will be competing in Bellator’s middleweight division when he eventually makes his MMA debut.
In case you haven’t heard the complaining for the past week, the UFC’s new, exclusive sponsorship deal with Reebok appears to be hurting far more of their athletes financially than it is helping. Ruth choosing Bellator over the UFC because of it could be a sign of things to come.