Bellator find themselves in an unusual position this week as their current heavyweight champion Cole Konrad has decided to retire from the sport at just 28 years of age.
Konrad is hanging up his gloves in order to start a new career behind a desk, becoming a financial trader with a Minneapolis-based sales and marketing company.
Known as ‘The Polar bear’, Konrad entered into MMA with an impressive resume after being a two-time NCAA wrestling champion and would go on to produce a perfect 9-0 record.
He won Bellator’s season 3 heavyweight tournament at a relative cantor and recently defended his title with a first round submission over Eric Prindle.
Despite his success Konrad was never a fan favorite, largely due to his ‘safety first’ fighting style that relied on his wrestling prowess to smother his opponents, while his physique belied his athletic talents, appearing more akin to Roy Nelson than Alistair Overeem if you will.
It would have been interesting to see if he could have developed as a fighter if given more time though, and with Bellator on the verge of a major move to Spike TV next year there could have been greater rewards for Konrad down the line, but you can’t blame him for going down the route of greater financial security while avoiding getting punched in the face for a living.