Bellator MMA and Scott Coker are slowly but surely putting together a mixture of key fighters to a roster featuring fighters who have risen through the ranks in Bellator in addition to fighters who have name value built in the UFC. With that mix, Coker’s vision of what Bellator could be is becoming clear, and the future no doubt looks bright.

With Bellator needing top tier heavyweights, the promotion just made a key signing. That signing is Roy Nelson. Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting is reporting that “Big Country” has signed an exclusive, multi-fight contract with Bellator MMA. It’s expected that the promotion will officially announce the signing in the coming days.

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Nelson’s (22-14) contract with the UFC expired following his latest bout, which was a unanimous decision loss to Alexander Volkov in April. Despite the fact that his promotional debut has yet to be finalized, the plan is for him to fight in the fall of this year.

Nelson made his debut with the UFC nearly a decade ago by winning the tenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” While under the UFC banner, he held a 9-9 record. His most notable wins in the UFC came against Stefan Struve, Mirko Cro Cop, Matt Mitrione, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Silva, and Kimbo Slice.

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Nelson, who is 40 years old, had an up-and-down relationship with the UFC and Dana White. He remained a fan favorite and was always featured in big fights. While he never won the UFC heavyweight title, Bellator is need of a heavyweight champ as the title is vacant, so it’s possible that he could fight for it in the not-so-distant future.

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Andrew Ravens has been writing about combat sports since 2013 and has been a fan for over ten years! Andrew brings a different style to his work with an insider look into the fighters themselves.