Bellator MMA announced on Thursday that, for the first time in their history, they will implement an official ranking system. The first set of rankings, which will come out in April, will be voted upon by a panel of 15 media members that includes reporters for several prominent mixed martial arts websites as well as major media outlets like CBS Sports and the Russian news agency TASS.

Besides the champion, the top ten contenders for each of Bellator's seven men's divisions and two women's divisions will be ranked. Fighters must have competed at least once for Bellator on their current term and have fought within the prior 15 months to be eligible for a ranking. Fighters will remain eligible for 60 days following an announced retirement and can be ranked in more than one weight class as long as they have competed at that weight within the last 15 months.

Tuesday it was announced Bellator MMA would be entering an exclusive partnership with Showtime to broadcast all of their live events. The mixed martial arts organization plans on staging about two shows a month for the rest of the year starting with an April 2 card from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut that will feature featherweight champion Patricio Freire.

The promotion has bounced around broadcasters for several years having been televised on the Paramount Network, the DAZN streaming service and most recently the CBS Sports Network. They now make the move to a premium cable channel but Showtime will be offering a free 30-day trial followed by a six-month rate of $4.99 a month. Bellator president Scott Coker had previously worked with Showtime when he was president of the now defunct Strikeforce promotion and their events were broadcast on the channel.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and various MMA websites are reporting that two-time Bellator featherweight champion Daniel Straus was arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on Friday in Florida. The arrest is alleged to stem from an incident that took place on January 21 involving issues of infidelity with a woman Straus supposedly had been in a relationship with. The woman was also reported to have been taken to a hospital where she was treated for contusions around the eye and a puncture wound to the abdomen.

Before becoming a mixed martial artist, Straus had served time in prison for robbery. He was arrested again in 2013 for driving with a suspended license and drug charges. Straus held the Bellator featherweight title on two occasions but hasn't fought since a decision loss in September of 2019. According to, as of Monday, he still remains on the Bellator roster.

The Russian news agency RIA Novosti is reporting that mixed martial arts great Fedor Emelianenko has been released from a Moscow hospital after the 44-year-old fighter was admitted last week with the coronavirus. It was disclosed last Thursday that Emelianenko was a patient at Clinical Hospital No. 52, which has been specializing in treating Covid-19 cases. But Emelianenko quickly took to social media to assure his fans he was doing well.

It's unclear how his illness will effect future fighting plans. Bellator had intended a ballyhooed farewell tour of fights for Emelianenko to end his career. But after his last match, a victory over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in December 2019, plans for further bouts were put on hold by the worldwide pandemic.