Is Bellator MMA’s heavyweight division about to get a little more interesting?

Heavyweight Roy Nelson, a veteran of 10 fights with the UFC, was in attendance at Bellator 96 to corner Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal as well as support fellow teammate Ryan Martinez. Nelson is currently without a contract after fulfilling his last fight with UFC, which was a decisive loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 161. With two of his popular teammates, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and King Mo, now fighting for Bellator, his presence at the event led many to wonder if he’ll be following suit and joining the promotion as well.

So, could Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney be on the verge of signing Nelson?

“Funny, you’re not the first person to ask me that question,” Rebney responded.

Rebney told The MMA Corner that he likes the thought of having Nelson fight for the company, but his hands are tied while waiting for Nelson’s full release from his latest UFC contract.

“Most people that are MMA fans are Roy Nelson fans. ‘Big Country’ is a great personality. He’s also a hugely talented heavyweight. So, you know, we’ll see,” Rebney said. “I think he’s contractually got time left on his negotiation period with the UFC, so I can’t really dive into the Roy Nelson pool at this point. He’s a talented fighter, one of the top five or six heavyweights in the UFC, great personality, people love watching him, the ratings go through the roof when he’s on cable TV. He’s a talented fighter. I like watching him and I’ve paid to see him fight before, so yeah, sure.”

Rebney’s primary roadblock at this stage lies in where Nelson stands with the UFC. Nelson may have fulfilled the last fight on his contract, but he may not yet be clear of all of the contract’s other stipulations. And there’s also the possibility that he could ink a new deal that keeps him in the Octagon. So, has there been any progress in negotiations with Zuffa and its flagship promotion?

“Nope, I gotta talk with them,” Nelson told The MMA Corner. “I’m on vacation right now. I’m here for Mo and Ryan. And if the UFC wants me, then they want me.”

Some MMA media pundits have speculated that Nelson would enter negotiations to re-sign with the UFC with less leverage for a more lucrative contract since he is coming off a loss, but Nelson disagrees.

“We’re in the fight business and in the entertainment business,” Nelson said. “The leverage is entertainment and if you fight. That’s all. It has nothing to do with anything.”

It turns out that where he lands is still a mystery, even to him.

“I have no idea what’s in front of my future right now,” he admitted.

For now, he’ll just continue to enjoy his vacation.

Photo: Roy Nelson (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

David Massey
Staff Writer

David Massey studied Humanities and Art History at the University of Central Oklahoma. He first found interest in MMA from the first TUF show and has been hooked ever since. He began posting on mmajunkie then submitting Sunday Junkie entries and that began his interest in writing about MMA. Through twitter David found other MMA enthusiasts and began contributing articles to He looks forward to growing as a writer and being a part of the sport he loves.