Bellator Officially Drops Women's Division, Releases 3 Remaining Fighters

Damon MartinContributor IAugust 13, 2013

Jessica Eye (photo courtesy of Bellator)
Jessica Eye (photo courtesy of Bellator)

Bellator MMA has dropped their women's division effective immediately following the releases of Jessica Aguilar, Jessica Eye and Felice Herrig.

The writing was on the wall as of Tuesday when both Aguilar and Eye announced their releases via Twitter, and Herrig signed a new exclusive multi-fight deal with women's MMA promotion Invicta FC.

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney issued a press release and statement on Tuesday evening via email confirming that as of now the promotion is moving forward without a women's division, and no longer has any women's fighters under contract.

“Jessica Eye, Jessica Aguilar and Felice represent all that is good in women’s MMA.  Both Eye and Aguilar are ranked No. 1 in the world in their respective divisions and carry themselves with class and distinction elevating the women’s game. I’ve said many times that fighters need to fight and fight often.  Given our current focus, we are not in position to provide these very deserving women regular and reoccurring fights on a large platform," Rebney stated.  "And, I felt it was best to let them go and secure options that did.  I genuinely wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors and will be rooting for each of them wherever they fight.”

Bellator first added a women’s division during their third broadcast season when they introduced the 115-pound weight class and tournament.

The promotion managed to add several high profile names including Aguilar, former top ranked women's fighter Megumi Fujii, and eventual Bellator champion Zoila Frausto-Gurgel. Unfortunately, Gurgel suffered an injury following her first fight after winning the title (she never actually defended the belt), and had to have major reconstructive knee surgery that kept her out of action for over a year.

Bellator continued to stage women's fights on a case-by-case basis, but never put on another tournament again in any weight class.

The move on Tuesday to release the remaining women's fighters under contract now eliminates the women's division from Bellator's roster.

While Herrig has already signed to Invicta FC, both Eye and Aguilar will likely be hot prospects to snap up by another promotion in short order.

Aguilar is ranked as the No. 1 fighter in the world at 115 pounds, and Eye is also a highly touted fighter who can fight at both 125 and 135 pounds. Eye's ability to jump up to bantamweight may be enough to secure her a shot in the UFC, if the promotion is adding any additional talent to the women's division.

Bellator will now move forward with their current roster of men's weight classes, which include bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report