Light heavyweight Ryan Bader (pictured) was anxious to test the free agent market when his UFC contract expired after posting a TKO victory over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in November, an event where Bader’s name appeared atop the marquee.
At this stage in his nine-year mixed martial arts career, the only two legitimate options were to either re-sign with the UFC or bounce over to Bellator MMA. Bader was hoping to ignite a bidding war after winning seven of his past eight scraps.
Well, it won’t take long for Bader to review his options because it appears there will only be one offer to sign.
UFC president Dana White told USAToday over the weekend that he has long been prepared to part ways with the former “The Ultimate Fighter 8” winner.
“No,” White promptly responded when asked if they would match Bellator’s offer. “We had told Ryan Bader he was good to go. We knew he was going to go to Bellator the entire time.
“I think Bellator is a good place for Ryan Bader. I think at this point in his career, I think it’s the right move for him.”
While effective, Bader’s wrestling-intensive style hasn’t proved to be the most aesthetically appealing over the years. Now that the UFC is under new ownership, a group that forked over $4 billion to purchase the planet’s premier MMA promotion in July, many believe the UFC is transitioning more towards entertainment than sport.
Bader’s style clearly doesn’t fit into the UFC’s plans moving forward.
Bader owns a 22-5 professional record, with all of his losses coming against former champions or top contenders.
It is unknown how quickly Bader, 33, will sign Bellator’s offer sheet knowing the UFC no longer has a place for him.