Bellator Lightweight champion “Ill” Will Brooks (17-1) has been released from his contract with Bellator, entering MMA’s new era of free agency.

Bellator President Scott Coker confirmed the news to MMAjunkie.com on Saturday before Bellator 154: Davis vs. King Mo, saying the company elected to terminate the fighter’s deal, waiving all negotiation rights so that Brooks can pursue his free-agency options.

“It was very simple,” Coker told MMAjunkie. “Will Brooks’ contract is ending, and we made a decision not to renew it. We’re going to give him a full release, so we’re not going to be in the Will Brooks business any longer.”

The former lightweight champ and American Top Team fighter previously told MMAFighting.com that his contract with Bellator had expired on July 15th.


In addition, Bellator Heavyweight champ Vitaly Minakov (17-0) has been stripped of his title due to inactivity but will remain under contract with the company.  Minakov hasn’t defended his title since April 2014.

"We’re going to retain Minakov’s rights with the company, but we are going to strip him of the title for lack of participation, basically,” Coker said to MMAJunkie. “We hope we can work it out, but we’re going to be moving on from Minakov.”

As MMA grows, so will the politics and we will have to wait and see where Brooks ends up. Perhaps the UFC where Raphael Dos Anjos, who is riding a five-fight win streak, is the current UFC champion.

A Chicago native, Brooks is currently riding an eight-fight win streak with two wins over former Lightweight champ Michael Chandler.