Bellator 192 was originally set to be headlined by a welterweight title fight between champion Douglas Lima and Rory MacDonald.
However, with less than two weeks to go before the event, a change was made as a heavyweight grand prix bout between Chael Sonnen and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was named the new main event.
Paramount TV executive John Slusser says the change was necessary and it was due to the heavyweight grand prix itself.
“We’ll creatively differentiate the main event card and the grand prix in many different ways,” Slusser said at the Bellator 192 press conference. “We want this creative differentiation to make the heavyweight grand prix feel like a separate and unique event to the audience and that’s why it ends the night. And moving forward, all of the Bellator tentpoles in 2018 will end with a Bellator grand prix event.”
The bout between Sonnen and Rampage is the first fight of the heavyweight grand prix, which continues throughout the year, with the grand prix winner becoming the Bellator MMA Heavyweight Champion.
Slusser would also like everybody to wait and see what happens on Saturday Night with the grand prix.
“It’ll make sense to you, because what we’re doing is really creating another — it’s like a show in a show,” Slusser said. “It’s an event within the event. And we’re really creatively differentiating between these two things in a big, big way. You’ll see it Saturday and we’ll give you all the surprises, but I know it’ll be a great time and it’ll be a very, very entertaining night.”
Bellator 192 takes place on Saturday, January 20 from The Forum in Inglewood, California with Chael Sonnen and Quinton Jackson headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on the Paramount Network.