If your MMA diet consists of only UFC events, then you may want to tune into Bellator’s upcoming ninth season after all, as the promotion has added yet another UFC vet to its roster. Just a few days removed from the news that Cheick Kongo has signed with the Viacom property, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has confirmed that Lavar Johnson (17-7) has also signed with the organization.
Rebney announced the signing while appearing on the SLO Late Show, and also relayed that the massive Johnson will likely compete in Bellator’s upcoming heavyweight tournament. Rebney also offered this take on Johnson, who went 2-2 during his run with UFC (comment via MMA Fighting.com).
“Banger,” Rebney said. “He’s fought a lot of times in the UFC. Great stand up game. A lot of fun to watch fight.”
If you’ve seen Johnson’s fights with Pat Barry and Joey Beltran, you understand why Rebney led with the word “banger.” After taking out Barry at UFC on FOX 3 last May, the 36 year-old fighter was tapped out by Stefan Struve and lost by UD to Brendan Schaub at UFC 157 in February. After the most recent defeat, Johnson tested positive for an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio, and was also released by the UFC. The fighter’s camp claimed that Johnson was using TRT but had failed to disclose it.
So, for fans who want to watch huge heavyweights throw down, then obviously the additions of Kongo and Johnson will probably raise interest in Bellator’s next tourney. While Bellator continues to brand itself as an alternative to the UFC, due to its tourney based format, there certainly is no shortage now of former Octagon competitors. In recent months Bellator has signed”Rampage” Jackson, Tito Ortiz, Diego Nunes, John Alessio, Kongo, and Johnson.
Bellator’s Season Nine kicks off tomorrow night at the Mohegan Sun Arena and will feature middleweight champ Alexander Shlemenko battling Brett Cooper.
Stay tuned to Caged Insider.com for all your Bellator news and coverage.