Everything you need to know about Bellator’s new ranking system

Bellator MMA to introduce rankings for its weight classes.

As Bellator MMA prepares to begin its 2021 schedule, the promotion has announced that it will begin implementing its own ranking system for fighters.

A ranked top-10 contenders list will be made and updated for each of the nine Bellator weight classes — all seven male divisions, as well as women’s flyweight and featherweight. In addition, there will be a male and female pound-for-pound rankings list.

Similar to the UFC’s rankings system, the champion of each weight class will hold his or her own “champion” slot at the top of the rankings.

What qualifies a Bellator fighter to be eligible for the ranking system?

A fighter must compete at least once in Bellator on their current deal to be rank-eligible. A fighter who left to compete in another organization and then returns to Bellator will not automatically return to the rankings.

In addition, fighters are allowed to be ranked in multiple weight classes, so long as they have competed in a bout in each weight class at least once.

A Bellator fighter is eligible to remain ranked for up to 15 months since their most recent contest. Additionally, fighters who indicate they are retiring from active MMA competition can remain eligible to be ranked for up to 60 days, so long as Bellator considers the fighter to be active and eligible.

If a Bellator fighter is suspended by a sanctioning body, or by Bellator themselves, for a non-medical issue, the fighter can remain eligible to be ranked so long as the suspension is six months or fewer. A longer non-medical suspension, however, disqualifies the Bellator fighter for eligibility at that time.

If a fighter is ranked in more than one weight class, he/she can remain such as long as he/she fights again in each weight class before the end of the 15-month inactivity allowance span. Otherwise, the fighter will end up removed from whichever weight class he/she is inactive in.

The only allowance in which a fighter can stay ranked in more than one weight class in spite of being inactive in one for longer than 15 months is if said fighter is competing in a Bellator Grand Prix tournament.

Bellator will ultimately be the final determiner of the final list of the ranking-eligible fighter pool and the weight classes in which the fighters are eligible to be ranked.

Who is responsible for ranking Bellator fighters under this system?

Unlike the UFC’s weekly ranking updates, Bellator’s rankings will be voted on and updated after every event, regardless of frequency.

The rankings for each weight class, as well as the pound-for-pound lists, will be voted on by reputable members of the MMA media. FanSided will take part in the ranking voting process. No member of Bellator’s personnel, including talent and staff, may take part in the process.

While the names and media organizations of the voters will be made known to the public, individual votes will not. However, the number of first-place votes a fighter receives toward a No. 1 contender slot in each division — and the pound-for-pound lists — will also be made public (similar to college football rankings).

The full panel is as follows:

Jeff Cain – MMA Weekly
Brian Campbell – CBS Sports
Rodrigo Del Campo – Claro Sports
Rob DeMello – KHON Hawaii
Jason Floyd – The MMA Report
George Garcia – MMA Junkie
Amy Kaplan – FanSided
Nolan King – MMA Junkie
John Hyon Ko – South China Morning Post
Mark LaMonica – Newsday
Igor Lazarin – TASS Russia
Shakiel Mahjouri – Fightful MMA
Joe McDonagh – Cageside Press
John Morgan – MMA Junkie
Ken Pishna – MMA Weekly

Tabulation of votes will be handled exclusively by Combat Registry.

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