Heavyweight Roy Nelson is headed to Bellator MMA.
MMAFighting.com first reported Nelson’s move Friday. Financial terms of Nelson’s deal were not disclosed, but it is a multi-fight, multi-year contract.
Nelson became a free agent after dropping a decision to Alexander Volkov in April at UFC on FOX 24. Given that the veteran has gone just 3-7 over his past 10 outings, and perhaps more importantly, has had a rocky relationship with UFC president Dana White since the jump, it’s not surprising the UFC chose not to bring the 40-year-old back.
Despite constantly butting head with White, “Big Country” has always been a fan favorite because of his warrior mentality. Nelson emerged onto the UFC scene as a contestant on “The Ultimate Fighter 10” back in 2009. It was a stacked tournament he would end up winning.
Nelson is the latest in a long line of fighters to leave the UFC for Bellator. Some of them left by choice, while others, like Nelson, left by necessity.
Bellator allows their athletes to secure their own sponsors, so that helps bridge the gap in reduced salary. The UFC requires their fighters to strictly wear Reebok during fight week, which has caused most of their roster to lose out on a large portion of income.
It is unknown when Nelson will make his Bellator debut.