Free agent light heavyweight Ryan Bader (pictured) has signed with Bellator MMA.
Bellator made the announcement Monday via Twitter.
Terms of Bader’s deal were not disclosed.
This move was perhaps the worst kept secret in MMA. Last month, UFC president Dana White said they were ready to let Bader bounce to Bellator.
“I think Bellator is a good place for Ryan Bader,” White said at the time. “I think at this point in his career, I think it’s the right move for him.”
Bader hit the open market after November’s TKO victory over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. He was hoping the UFC would present him with an acceptable contract extension, but the offer never came.
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 when Bader, 33, will make his promotional debut for Bellator.