Bellator Almost Signed Chris Weidman Before The Champion Signed With UFC

After spending over four years booking matches for Bellator, Sam Caplan was released when former Strikeforce heads Scott Coker and Rich Chou were brought in to take over the company.

In a recent interview with Sherdog, Sam Caplan talked about his time working for the world’s No. 2 promotion and spilled details about just how close Bellator was to signing Chris Weidman before the UFC got their hands on him. At the time (in 2010), Weidman was a 3-0 prospect with a promising future and Caplan elaborated on what happened.

“Chris Weidman. I thought we had that deal done. I put a lot of time into that, and we had Chris come out to the Huerta-Alvarez show [Bellator 33] as our guest and we got him a hotel room. It was a big recruiting visit. We took him backstage, spoke with Bjorn and shook his hand. Chris was really excited walking out of that meeting about fighting for us. I was told by his managers that the deal was done.”

“I think Chris took the contract to a lawyer who was also a relative, and I think the relative had some questions about the nature of the contract. I think Chris felt like we had misled him. I read an interview where we had said that. It took me by surprise, but I think what had happened was, the guy that was working with him was trying to get other fighters into Bellator and had spoken to Bjorn about possibly working for the company. I think he felt like whether or not he was going to be able to do business with us outside of Chris Weidman, he felt like that was going to be dependent on if he could get Chris to sign with us. I think he might’ve misled Chris on a few things to get Chris to sign a 36-page document. I can tell you from my end, I don’t know anything that Bellator did to mislead him. I wonder where the disconnect was.”

“I thought that was a done deal. Bjorn was like, “How good do you think he can be?” And I say, “If we sign him, he’s going to be our middleweight champion.” When Chris won the title from Anderson Silva, I was like, “Well, I was wrong. He’s not our champion, he’s the UFC middleweight champion.”

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