Bellator MMA has made many strides since its establishment in 2008, hosting many of the sport’s biggest names and craziest moments.
Founded by Bjorn Rebney, the promotion originally operated in seasons and worked around contender tournaments, with the winner of each division’s tournaments earning the right to eventually challenge for the division’s championship. The earlier days of Bellator saw competition from talents that would go on to grow their names, including Eddie Alvarez, Ben Askren, Alexander Shlemenko and Joe Soto (and even current UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik on commentary at one point).
The promotion quickly gained attention and was purchased by Viacom in late 2011, as the promotion went from airing on channels such as MTV2 and ESPN Deportes to one of its current homes on Paramount Network (formerly Spike). With the closure of Strikeforce in early 2013, Bellator is currently viewed as the second-biggest promotion in the U.S. and one of the biggest in the world outside of the UFC.
Scott Coker, the former head of Strikeforce, became president of the promotion in June 2014 and the promotion has further progressed in the five years since to show itself as a true alternative MMA product. Today, the promotion is home to some well-known MMA names, including Fedor Emelianenko, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Gegard Mousasi, Benson Henderson, Roy Nelson and more — along with its own home-grown stars that have stuck around like the “Pitbull” Freire brothers (Patricky and Patricio), Michael Chandler and Douglas Lima.
Entries were named to this list for, in no particular or prioritized order: championships won inside the Bellator cage, records set in the Bellator cage, tenure with the promotion and overall impact and legacy in Bellator.
Having hosted so many fighters over the last decade, which 15 male fighters are the most accomplished inside the Bellator cage? And which can claim to be the greatest fighter in Bellator history?