Ryan Bader signs with Bellator MMA

Ryan Bader signs with Bellator MMA

Bellator president Scott Coker announced the matchup on Monday, in a report from The Associated Press.

Bellator President Scott Coker today told the AP that Sonnen (29-14-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 5-7 UFC) will headline Bellator 180, which takes place June 24 at Madison Square Garden in NY.

This will mark just the second pay-per-view event in Bellator history.

"On our side, we want to go in right away, and I think we can step in without people saying, 'Oh, you're jumping too many people, ' or this and that". Bellator is owned by media conglomerate Viacom, and airs regularly on Spike TV. For a month now, there has been speculation whether Bader would stay in the UFC or jump ship to Bellator.

The Bellator brand has not yet broken into NY, since professional mixed martial arts was legalized there in 2016. The fight was scrapped after Silva avoided a drug test and Sonnen tested positive for multiple banned substances.

Sonnen (29-15-1) recently returned from a three-year layoff against Tito Ortiz in the main event of Bellator 170 earlier this year, but dropped a first-round submission.

Yet another ranked UFC fighter is packing his bags.

Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC) hasn't fought since a 2013 stoppage of Brian Stann. Phil Davis was also a top contender while fighting for the UFC, but signed with Bellator and quickly became the promotions light heavyweight champion. He was supposed to fight Mirko Cro Cop in the Rizin FF grand prix tournament last December but pulled out with an injury.

Bellator 180 takes place on June 24.