BAMMA is set to crown its first lightweight champion in almost 12 months, adding a title stipulation to the BAMMA 33 main event between Ryan Scope (10-1) and Mickael Lebout (16-7-3).
With just over 24 hours to go until BAMMA team up with Bellator MMA at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, the promotion took to Twitter to announce the news.
Since being confirmed in September, Wednesday afternoon marks the first time the lightweight championship has been brought into the discussion, with the fight initially being promoted as a title eliminator.
Considering the championship has been vacant since Martin Stapleton’s exit at the end of 2016, the lack of commotion by BAMMA – not even publishing a press release – is perplexing, to say the least.
As to why the promotion elected to increase the stakes for their headline act, the most likely scenario relates to their new broadcast deal with ITV4. However, BAMMA has yet to confirm.
Some light may be shed on the matter when they host their official pre-event press conference on Thursday afternoon.
The title belt serves as an added incentive for Ryan Scope ahead of his BAMMA homecoming. This will be his first fight under the promotional banner since an April 2014 decision win over Ali Arish in London.
Following that win, a combination of injuries and family commitments sidelined “Big Baby” from the cage until October 2016, when he signed a one-fight deal with ACB.
He went on to beat Yusup Umarov in Glasgow, before accepting a fight against perennial welterweight Lewis Long, where he suffered his first loss as a professional.
Meanwhile, the opposing lightweight contender, Mickael Lebout is a former UFC fighter, released in 2015. Two more defeats outside of the WME-IMG promotion prompted improvements from the Frenchman, who has now won two and drawn one.