While plenty of people seemed to be surprised by the UFC’s decision to cut longtime middleweight contender Yushin Okami last week, likely more folks will be shocked if the fighter doesn’t find work soon. Sure, Okami’s grinding approach didn’t always keep fans on the edge of their seats, but we are talking about a man who went 13-5 in the world’s toughest 185 pound division.
So, could Bellator be one of the organizations that approach Okami? Considering they’ve brought on other UFC vets in recent months? While speaking after the promotion’s latest event in Portland this weekend, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney had this to say about Okami (comments via MMA Junkie.com).
“I’m always interested in talented fighters, and at this stage, when there’s really just two of us (promotions) out there, there’s a lot of guys that have been here long-term for us that are now fighting in the UFC – I think by last count, 24 of them,” Rebney said. “And there are surely a good number of UFC fighters that were under long-term (contracts) with them that are now here – 15 of them, I think. So I don’t know.
“He’s an entertaining fighter – obviously, has had a little bit of a skid as of late. But I really haven’t given it much consideration…Tough question – haven’t given it a lot of thought. I did hear about it because I’m on Twitter and I read everything, but I don’t really have a definitive statement of a yay or a nay.”
The good news for Okami and his fans is that World Series of Fighting has already let it be known that they’re interested in the Judo black belt. “Thunder” could be armed with a new contract somewhere fairly soon.
Stay tuned to MMA Frenzy.com for more on this story and all your Bellator news.