Second-dan judo black belt Karl Etherington has signed for Bellator FC.
The British heavyweight today inked a multi-fight, multi-year deal that will see him debut in January before taking part in a $100,000 grand prix tournament for the promotion, which is America’s number two.
Etherington is ranked eighth in his weight class by the British Judo association and has amassed a professional MMA record of 7-0 with each win coming by way of first-round finish.
“Karl has devastating knock out power and will be flying the flag for the UK in Bellator. He is looking to establish himself as one of the top heavyweights in the world and this deal will give him the platform to do just that,” says his manager Neil Wain, himself a UFC veteran.
“These are exciting times for everyone involved with 'Old Skool Fight Management' with some great opportunities for the fighters on the horizon. You will be able to follow Karl's progress in Bellator as he sets his sights on winning the Heavyweight Title in one of the world’s biggest MMA promotions.
“We are always looking for talent to market so any fighters wanting to join our team should get in touch as soon as possible.”
Etherington comes from Preston in Lancashire and will be a sore loss to the promotions of the north-west, for whom he is a huge ticket-seller.
But he is joining Bellator FC at the perfect time - in January the organisation will begin airing live events on Spike TV, former home of the UFC, and is expected to enjoy the massive surge in popularity that being available to 98 million homes will provide.