Shortly after Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was announced as the newest addition to the Bellator roster, his longtime training partner Cheick Kongo was rumored to have signed with the organization as well. Kongo was recently released by the UFC after turning down a five-fight deal they offered him before he was stopped by Roy Nelson atÂ UFC 159: “Jones vs. Sonnen” in April.
Bjorn Rebney was asked if the dangerous French striker has signed a deal with them at the press conference (via MMAHEAT).
“He has not,” said the Bellator CEO. “Great fighter. Fun personality. Very good fighter to watch, I’ve been watching him for years, but he has not signed with Bellator.”
Kongo (18-8, 11-6 UFC) was fighting under the Zuffa banner for over six years with 16 of his 18 UFC bouts being on pay-per-view. His immense size and imposing look could have won you over, not to mention the powerful stand-up game he always brought to the table. And how could you forget his incredible comeback of the year performance against Pat Barry?
The muscle-bound Kongo is one of two men to go the distance with Cain Velasquez, when the future champ repeatedly took him down andÂ landed a barrage of strikes to Kongo’s head for fifteen minutes straight back at UFC 99.
Rampage has been speaking about competing as a quicker heavyweight for Bellator, and with Kongo a friend and close training partner at the Wolf’s Lair in Widnes, UK, maybe the company isn’tÂ interested in the 38-year old at all. Their heavyweight division isn’t very talent-rich, and with Bellator’s tournament style, they would probably have to meet eventually. Why not just avoid it altogether?
After acquiring Jackson just recently, it doesn’t look like Bellator’s CEO is down to go the extra mile to sign Kongo.