Is Vitaly Minakov headed for the Octagon? The UFC reportedly has offered the former Bellator heavyweight champion a contract.
Alexey Safonov first reported the news on Twitter:
Minakov, who has a spotless 18-0 record as a professional, was stripped of the title by Bellator on May 14 because of inactivity. Minakov has not fought for Bellator since April 4, 2014, when he defeated Cheick Kongo by decision at Bellator 115 in what marked his only defense of the championship. Minakov has logged four fights for EFN, a promotion based out of Russia, since his last Bellator appearance.
Minakov discussed his potential future last month in an interview with MMA Junkie through an interpreter, during which he said he had no ill will toward Bellator or Scott Coker, the promotion's current CEO.
"I’m grateful for what Bellator has done for me, and without them I would not be here today, and people wouldn’t know who I am.. I understand this is business. Bellator is a promotion, and they want to do what’s the best for them--and of course I want what’s best for me. But for the first time in my career, I feel at ease because I know Scott Coker and Spike are very good people, and I know we’ll all make the right decision for everyone to be happy."
Minakov has finished 16 of his 18 opponents as a pro fighter.