Over the last week, it was announced that former UFC Light-Heavyweight title challenger Anthony “Rumble” Johnson would be making the move from the UFC to Bellator.
While there was a rumor of this happening before it was announced, a reason for the shift has not been shared by either party involved.
Speaking to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter on Sports Centre, UFC President Dana White was asked about the move, however, he provided few specifics.
“First of all I have a good relationship with Anthony Johnson I like him very much,” White said. “He was under contract with us, I would have loved to have seen him compete here, I don’t know use your imagination.”
After being pressed on why the UFC would choose to let go of Johnson, White shared that the move was likely in Johnson’s best interest. Going further Bronsteter asked if the move was financially motivated to which White simply said “Ask him.”
Fans were hoping to see Johnson compete in an open light-heavyweight division following the move of Jon Jones to heavyweight.
Johnson previously retired back in 2017 after being submitted by Daniel Cormier in a failed bid at the title. Following this loss Rumble would go on to compete in some grappling tournaments but would not enter the UFC octagon again.
Being under contract with the UFC the company and Johnson mutually parted ways allowing him to make the move into Bellator’s light-heavyweight division. This move comes shortly after former top UFC fighter Corey Anderson made the same decision earlier in the year. Anderson openly shared that the move was financially incentivized and has since gone on to win his debut for the promotion and set himself up for a near title shot.
Currently, there is no date when we can expect Johnson to make his debut for the organization.