(PRESS RELEASE) -- Bellator Fighting Championships put yet another
piece in place for its upcoming Season 2 featherweight tournament
today with the signing of 5-2 Shad
Lierley, a former International Fight League (IFL) standout and
elite-level college wrestler.
The 29-year-old Lierley -- who was a top college wrestler while
earning his bachelor’s degree in economics and political science at
New York University -- is perhaps best-known for his legendary 2007
fight against one-time IFL poster boy Chris Horodecki. Despite his
wrestling background (and the fact that he was fighting at 155
lbs.), Lierley stood toe-to-toe with Horodecki for three full
rounds, delivering one of the most dramatic and action-packed
fights in the IFL’s short history.
“Shad Lierley has been part of some great fights. If you ever want
to see an awesome highlight reel watch his fight with Chris
Horodecki, which Shad took at 155 even though he’s a legit 145
fighter,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “He is
another solid addition to our featherweight tournament.”
Leirley is the seventh featherweight to be announced as a
participant in the eight-man tournament along with Georgi
Karakhanyan, Joe Warren, Patricio Pitbull, Bao Quach, William
Romero and Wilson Reis. Bellator will also conduct tournaments at
155, 170 and 185 lbs. with the winners in each division being
declared No. 1 contenders to the current Bellator champions.
Each of Bellator’s 24 Season 2 and 3 events will be broadcast on
FOX Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo.
Lierley was born in Utah but moved at a young age to Alaska with
his parents and eight siblings. He was a four-time state wrestling
finalist and was named as Alaska’s Wrestler of the Year during his
senior year, earning him an invitation to continue his career at
NYU. There, he became one of the best wrestlers in the school’s
history and held the No. 1 national ranking during his sophomore
After graduating, Lierley considered a wide variety of career
paths, but found himself being drawn toward professional fighting.
In 2006, a wrestling buddy encouraged him to try out for the IFL
and he earned a spot in that organization.
“When I started college, I never planned to get involved in MMA,
but it’s what I fell into and I couldn’t be happier,” he said.
“There are a lot of well-educated people who have a lot of options
in front of them and they choose fighting. It’s a great sport and
I’m proud to be a part of it.”
As a professional, Lierley is a perfect 5-0 when fighting at 145,
with his only two losses (against Horodecki and eventual IFL
Featherweight Champion Wagnney Fabiano) coming at 155. His most
recent win came during Bellator IX last May in Monroe, La.
“I found out then that Bellator is just an awesome organization,”
Lierley said. “They’re doing some great things in MMA and the
talent they’ve been recruiting is just phenomenal. There’s going to
be a lot of fireworks come springtime and I think I’m going to be a
part of that. I wouldn’t have signed if I didn’t think I could win
For more information, visit 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.