If the past couple months have been any indication, it would be safe to say that Bellator is pulling out all the stops to tempt any and all high-profile talent that may exist outside the UFC into their arms. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
In addition to scooping up former UFC stars, Chael Sonnen and Rory MacDonald, the promotion has additionally been branching out to secure the likes of three-time #NCAA champion, Ed Ruth and kickboxers, Keri Melendez and John Wayne Parr -- promising yet untested talent who, if given enough time to develop and the correct push, could represent the next wave in the sport's evolution.
So, who is next up on Bellator's surprise signing list? That would be BJJ master and #Metamoris founder, Ralek Gracie, who confirmed his signing with the promotion via ESPN late last night, then on Instagram this morning.
Although his MMA record currently sits at a perfect 3-0, it has been over 6 years since #Gracie last stepped into the cage (or in his case, ring) to do MMA battle. His last victory came by way of a unanimous decision over the legendary "Gracie Killer" Kazushi #Sakuraba at Dream 14 in 2010. Ralek would found the Brazilian jiu-jitsu promotion Metamoris four years later -- a decision which the man himself said ultimately spurred his desire to return to MMA.
"I'm ready to get myself back out there," said Gracie. "I competed in a Metamoris jiu-jitsu match [in July], and I felt like I got in amazing shape, but wasn't able to focus like I wanted, because I was running my own show.
"I've always fought MMA. I never really competed in jiu-jitsu. I was always attracted to more of a real fight. I think people still want to know what this original style of jiu-jitsu can do in modern MMA. I'm into that, and I'm into being a catalyst in that story."
No date has currently been set for Gracie's debut, although he's eyeing Bellator's January 21 show at the LA Forum.