Depending on the outcome of the bout, it could mean more trips to Rizin for Caldwell or appearances for Horiguchi in Bellator MMA according to Bellator MMA President Scott Coker.
“If he goes there and ‘DC’ (Caldwell) loses, there’s a guaranteed rematch in Bellator as part of the deal,” Coker said to MMA Junkie. “And if he goes there and wins then I agree with Sakakibara that once a year ‘DC’ will go to there to defend the Rizin belt. And if Horiguchi beats ‘DC’ here, as well, then we have to have access to Horiguchi to fight in Bellator once a year to defend his Bellator belt.”
If Caldwell does win the title at Rizin 14, it would make him one of only a handful of fighters to win two titles in two different major MMA organizations.
There could be more crossover fights between Bellator MMA and Rizin competitors, but Coker wants to see how this crossover goes before committing to anything in the future.
“Let’s see how this one goes,” Coker said. “But we’re not afraid to put our guys up and put them in risk or in harm’s way. Any fighter can get beat at any time. But there has to be a certain amount of business understanding that makes sense for us and for Rizin, to do these types of deals. I’ve been going to Japan since the late 90s and working in a martial arts fight company there, so I think I have a good understanding of how it works and what they’re looking for. I think that as long as the fighters want to do it, Sakakibara and I can have a good understanding, we’ll do it. For me, I think it’s created a lot of excitement for two fighters that collectively, together, they can create a much more exciting matchup than if they fought somebody else just for Rizin or Bellator.”
Rizin 14 takes place on Monday, December 31 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan with Floyd Mayweather and Tenshin Nasukawa headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, while broadcast plans have yet to be announced.