Jay Hieron (22-5) tweeted the news of his long sought-after Bellator release today, but that doesn’t mean that The Thoroughbred is a free agent.
The seasoned 35-year-old has joined fellow former UFC competitors Jamie Varner and Junior Assuncao in signing with Legacy Fighting Championships. MMAJunkie first reported the signings.
Hieron and Assuncao will compete (but not against one another) at a July 13 Legacy FC event which is to be held at the Arena Theater in Houston, Texas, and headlined by expert grappler Robert Drysdale. Neither man has been assigned an opponent for their promotional debuts.
Hieron exits Bellator after winning the promotion’s fourth season welterweight tournament, albeit controversially. In his first tourney bout, against Anthony Lapsley, the referee prematurely halted the bout when he thought Lapsley had been put to sleep by a rear naked choke – he had not. The Thoroughbred would go on to edge out Brent Weedman and Rick Hawn (who are, coincidentally, the Bellator season six lightweight tournament finalists) in questionable decisions to win the tournament.
When he took on Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren and lost by controversial decision himself, Hieron requested an immediate rematch. When he was not granted that rematch, he began looking for a way out.
Hieron last competed against Askren, at Bellator 56 last October.