CHICAGO, Ill. (January 21, 2010) – Bellator Fighting Championships put yet
another piece in place for its second season today with the announcement
that Judo master and former Olympian Ferrid “Hurricane” Kheder will compete
in the promotion’s upcoming lightweight tournament.
Kheder, who placed seventh in the Judo competition at the 2000 Summer
Olympics in Sydney, has quickly compiled a solid 16-5 MMA record since
giving up Judo to fight full-time in the cage just three years ago. His
transition to MMA was put into overdrive in 2008 when he began training
under the famed Shawn Tompkins. Since the two teamed up, Kheder has won 11
of his 12 fights.
“I see Ferrid as a real star that’s just waiting to explode,” Tompkins said.
“He’s one of those guys who’s flown under the radar so far, but in the
meantime he’s been able to focus on learning how to incorporate all the
other MMA skills into his judo. With that combination, I think he’s really
going to be tough to beat.”
Kheder is the second fighter to be named by Bellator as a competitor in the
promotion’s upcoming eight-man lightweight tournament. The other is 5-0 Mike
Ricci, a regular training partner to Georges Saint-Pierre.
Bellator will also conduct tournaments at 145, 170 and 185 lbs. with the
winners of this season’s tournaments being declared No. 1 contenders to
Bellator’s current roster of champions. Each of Bellator’s 24 events during
Seasons 2 and 3 will be televised on FOX Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo.
Kheder is the second former Olympian who will be participating in Bellator’s
Season 2 tournaments. The other is welterweight Ben Askren, a former Olympic
“Ferrid Kheder is a world-class athlete who has already competed at the
highest levels and now he’s working with one of MMA’s top coaches to further
hone his skills,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Ferrid’s
career has kicked into high-gear over his last dozen fights and he will be
very tough for anyone in our 155 tournament.”
The 35-year-old Kheder was born in France to a Spanish mother and Tunisian
father. He holds a third-degree judo black belt as well as a Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu brown belt.
He began training judo at the age of four and, over the course of his
25-plus-year career, has won 13 national titles, eight continental medals
and two continental titles in Europe. He joined the French National Team in
1993 at the age of 18 and eventually represented that country at the 2000
Olympics, where he finished seventh. Soon after, he moved to the Tunisian
National Team, where he stayed until 2004.
Around that time, Kheder contemplated giving up fighting sports altogether
but soon became convinced that he could enjoy a career renaissance of sorts
by switching to MMA.
Accordingly, he moved to Sydney and began training with Hector Lombard, now
Bellator’s reigning World Middleweight Champion. He came to the United
States in 2007 and landed with Team Tompkins about a year later. He now
trains at Tompkins’ TapouT gym in Las Vegas.
“I’m a judo guy through and through, but I’ve adapted my skills to MMA,” he
said. “I’ve worked hard on my ground game and my striking and I believe I’m
ready to take it to the next level. Bellator is a great promotion . they
respect their athletes and put on some great shows. I’m very excited for the
For more information, visit Bellator.com <http://bellator.com/> , follow
Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA or on Facebook at
About Bellator Fighting Championships
Bellator Fighting Championships is a Mixed Martial Arts promotional company
with offices in Los Angeles and Chicago. Bellator’s founder/CEO, Bjorn
Rebney, is an experienced fighting sports and entertainment professional
with a deep commitment to the purity and integrity of the sport of MMA and
its athletes. Bellator Fighting Championships’ executive team is comprised
of top industry professionals in the areas of live event production,
television production, fighter relations, venue procurement, sponsorship
creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising,
publicity and commission relations.