Bellator's heavyweight grand prix just got bigger in every sense of the word.
Bellator 200's marquee matchup between Mirko Cro Cop and Roy Nelson in London on May 25 will serve as an alternate bout for the promotion's ongoing tourney, president Scott Coker announced Thursday. In other words, the bout's victor will be eligible to replace any one of the grand prix's competitors should the injury bug strike.
Cheick Kongo and Javy Ayala were announced as the grand prix's original alternates earlier this year, but lost that distinction once their matchup for May's Bellator 199 became official.
Nelson gets a chance to rejoin the chase for heavyweight gold after dropping the tourney's second quarterfinal to Matt Mitrione by majority decision at Bellator 194 in February.
Cro Cop, meanwhile, will look to avenge a TKO loss to Nelson suffered under the UFC banner in late 2011. The heavyweight luminary's Bellator debut has been the subject of widespread debate due to a theoretically outstanding two-year USADA-sanctioned ban. However, Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation director Mike Mazzulli - who presides over Bellator events held overseas as well - will allow Cro Cop to compete provided he tests clean outside of competition. Mazzulli recently told MMAjunkie's Steven Marrocco that a sample collected from Cro Cop earlier in April came back clean.
The heavyweight rematch is expected to headline Bellator 200 at Wembley Arena in London, with the tourney's third quarterfinal between Frank Mir and Fedor Emelianenko closing out Bellator 198 on Saturday in Rosemont, Ill.