Sports Update 

Sara McMann signs with Bellator MMA and will move to featherweight.

Sara McMann, UFC Raleigh Weigh-In Credit: Bryson Hester/Cageside Press.

Former UFC women’s bantamweight title challenger Sara McMann will have a new home in the future.

McMann (ages 13-6), who faced Ronda Rousey at UFC 170 in 2014 in an attempt to claim the promotion’s bantamweight title. has signed an exclusive deal with Bellator MMA where she expects to debut sometime in 2023. When she does, she will compete at 145 pounds as Bellator does not currently have a women’s bantamweight division.

Ariel Helvani First reported on the news of McMann’s signing, the fighter herself later explained in depth why she chose to move on from the UFC.

“After a long period of consideration and negotiation I decided to fight for Bellator at featherweight,” McMann said in a statement posted on social media. “Before I fought Karol Rosa, Jennifer Goldstein (my amazing manager) asked if I wanted to test for free agency or stay with UFC no matter what. I told her that while I enjoyed my career fighting for the UFC, I was at a different point in my life than when I originally signed with them.”

“I’m very fortunate in Women’s MMA where other promotions offer very attractive contracts. If you’re a top fighter it’s not easy to let go of some of the greats I’ve met or the great bantamweight fighters I’ve faced. Bellator made an offer I couldn’t refuse. The 42-year-old continued, “I look forward to keeping all of my friends in the UFC while making new friends in Bellator. The world of wrestling is a tight-knit community. And I respect every athlete who competes. My desire to become world champion in featherweight is very strong. Because I truly believe that Bellator has some of the world’s top fighters in that weight class. Thank you to all my fans, you all are fight fans. (or wrestler) and I can’t wait to show my skills without losing weight.”

“Some fans have asked about retirement. The honest answer is that I just love fighting and still don’t want to stop. I have a mental health counseling specialist and I look forward to the day when I can consult full time. But still not…”

McMann won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Then switched to mixed martial arts in 2011, starting her career at 7-0. This decorated wrestler fought in Titan FC, ProElite and Invicta FC before arriving in UFC in 2013. Although McMann Will miss a bit compared to “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, but her career longevity has eclipsed the Hall of Famer.

McMann most recently defeated Carole Rosa in March. She was expected to face Aspen Ladd over the summer, but only Ladd missed the weight, causing the fight to stall McMann, who was paid for her performance for the match. later entered into an independent agency

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