Roy “Big Country” Nelson has ended his nearly eight-year stint in the UFC by signing an exclusive multi-fight contract with Bellator, multiple sources have confirmed. Bellator will be expected to make a public announcement about the acquisition of the popular heavyweight in the next few days.
Roy Nelson was a firm fan favourite over the course of his run in the UFC. “Big Country” won season ten of The Ultimate Fighter by defeating Brendan Schaub via knockout. Nelson’s devastating overhand right went on to earn him a plethora of stunning knockouts, including victories over Cheick Kongo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Nelson’s record stood 9-10 in the UFC, standing at 22-14 overall.
Nelson was frequently at odds with UFC President, Dana White during his UFC career. Most recently, after his fight with “Bigfoot”, in which Nelson kicked referee John McCarthy in frustration after he felt that the stoppage came too late. He criticised McCarthy, saying that he let “Bigfoot” take unnecessary shots after the fight should have already been stopped. White condemned Nelson for his actions.
Nelson’s UFC contract expired after his decision loss to Alexander Volkov at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs Reis on April 15th. There has been no clear indication as to when Nelson will make his Bellator debut, however, sources say that the promotion is aiming to have him fight late on this year.
At 40, Nelson is reaching the twilight of his career. He has followed a number of talented former UFC fighters to Bellator, including Benson Henderson, Phil Davis, Lorenz Larkin, Ryan Bader and Rory MacDonald.