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Bellator finalizes lightweight tournament roster with fast-rising Pat Curran

CHICAGO, Ill. (March 17, 2010) — Bellator Fighting Championships put the final piece in place for its much-anticipated Season 2 lightweight tournament today with the signing of 9-3 up-and-comer Pat Curran.

The 22-year-old Curran is the cousin of UFC, WEC, Strikeforce and PRIDE veteran Jeff Curran but is quickly stepping out of his cousin’s shadow and carving his own path in the MMA world.

Pat Curran first gained widespread notoriety thanks to his appearance on Season 2 of the short-lived TapouT reality show, where he was given the nickname “Paddy Mike” by the show’s host, Mask. Most recently, in late February, Curran won a unanimous decision over Robbie Olivier, one of Britain’s top ranked fighters, at an event in Olivier’s home country.

“My cousin and I have the same last name and he helped pave the way for me, but that doesn’t help me once I’m in the cage—it’s all on me then,” Curran said. “Bellator is a huge step in my career and I’m excited for the chance to really prove myself and make a name for myself around the world.”

Curran grew up in South Florida where he was an All-State high school wrestler and moved to Illinois in 2007 to begin training at his cousin’s Curran Martial Arts Academy in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake.

He will make his Bellator debut at Bellator XIV on April 15th in front of a hometown crowd at the Chicago Theatre.

Curran is the final competitor to be added to Bellator’s eight-man Season 2 155 lbs. tournament along with former UFC superstar Roger Huerta, Season 1 runner-up Toby Imada, former Olympian Ferrid Kheder, undefeated Canadian phenom Mike Ricci, European stalwart Janne Tulirinta, the undefeated Chad Hinton and former All-American wrestler Carey Vanier.

Each tournament fight will be broadcast live in prime time on FOX Sports Net every Thursday night beginning April 8th and replayed in special highlight shows on NBC and Telemundo every Saturday night beginning April 10th.

First round matchups will be announced later this week.

“Pat is a very solid addition to our stacked 155 lbs. tournament,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Pat comes from MMA royalty and is ready to make his own impact on the sport. He was sought after very aggressively by several other major promotions, so I’m excited for him to be a part of our organization. It will be great to see him fight in front of his many hometown fans next month at the Chicago Theatre.”

For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA or on Facebook at Facebook.com/Bellator. For tickets, go to Ticketmaster.com.

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