UFC’s Two Top 5 Fighters Who Signed With Bellator Explain Why — ‘Respect, Money, and…

While Ultimate Fighting Championship is the premier organization for mixed martial artists to call “home”, more and more fighters have been signing with Bellator since the WME-IMG takeover last year.

Bellator has benefited greatly from the WME-IMG takeover, and the mass exodus that took place earlier this year left the Viacom-owned company in a position it hasn’t been in a long time. Former UFC light heavyweight championship contender Ryan Bader and welterweight Lorenz Larkin recently spoke out about jumping ship to Bellator, and why they chose to do it:

Bader tells MMA Fighting:

“I think it’s one of the better contracts out there, outside of being a UFC champion with pay-per-view points and stuff like that.”

“The lowest I’ve ever made — and this was on the prelims — was 35 grand on a fight. I’ve made upwards of 80 grand on a fight on sponsors.”

“It makes sense for me to go in there and fight for it. I don’t think too many people can bitch about me coming over and getting an immediate title shot.”

Lorenz Larkin tells MMA Fighting:

“I didn’t even get an offer from [the UFC] until maybe two-and-a-half weeks ago, something like that, maybe a little bit more.”

“I feel like I’ve fought my way to where I’m at now and it’s just one of those things where it can’t be like that. I can’t just be one superpower and that’s it. And luckily I’m in this sport at a time where it’s starting to not be like that anymore.”

“I was just able to talk to (Bellator president) Scott (Coker), me and him on the phone, and we worked out something within, I don’t know, 40 minutes, man.”

“I’m happy, man. Everything has just been welcoming. With me, it’s more about the respect, type of thing. Just a big thing for me — and it’s not really a big deal, but it is for me, for me and who I am — when [Bellator] released the story (of my signing), they wanted to make it a big deal that the Riverside press released it first.”