MMA: Bellator's misfortune sees brand struggle once again to crack the UFC dominated pay-per-view arena

Bellator as a promotion is second only to the UFC in the world of MMA. Backed by the media powerhouse Viacom, it has thus far used Spike TV, one of Viacom’s own TV channels in the US, as their primary platform for broadcasting events. Spike TV was, of course, the platform the UFC used for their first Ultimate Fighter series and numerous other events in the past, thus giving the network quite the MMA pedigree. Largely due to their shows being on free-to-air TV, Bellator events have often achieved remarkable viewing figures. There has, however been a chip on the shoulders of the promotion, which was their capability to put out a pay-per-view event.

Founder and President of Bellator, Bjorn Rebney, has been nothing shy of resolute in his efforts to put together a card worthy of pay-per-view coverage. To put out a show that warrants fans paying a fee to watch it from their own homes is, in the minds of many, to reach the pinnacle of the fight promotion game. Many experts within the industry though have questioned Bellator’s strategy, being of the opinion that they should continue to use Spike as their platform to promote their brand and fighters.

Last year, Bellator tried to put on their first pay-per-view event by pitting ex-UFC veterans Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz against each other in a light-heavyweight grudge match. The co-main event was a rematch for Bellator’s lightweight title between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler. The co-main event was a far more intriguing match-up for MMA fans, but the bigger names were given main event privileges. When Tito Ortiz pulled out with injury, Bellator relegated the event back to Spike and abandoned their pay-per-view hopes.

Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez would put on a fight of the year candidate with an epic 5 round war; Alvarez eventually regaining the title he had lost to Chandler previously. Their names had been made with this fight.

Fast forward then to this last weekend. Bellator were having another crack at pay-per-view, this time with Alvarez and Chandler as the main event and Rampage Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal supporting. Typically, Alvarez had to pull out last week due to a concussion ruining the main event, but this time Bellator kept the event on pay-per-view.

Alvarez was replaced by Will Brooks who would fight Chandler for the interim title with the winner earning a shot against a recovered Alvarez at a later date. Obviously for Bellator, it was important Chandler made it through in order to capitalise on the media intrigue around the third fight in his trilogy with Alvarez; he didn’t.

After losing the first 2 rounds decisively, the underdog, Brooks, began to turn the tide. At the end of 5 rounds opinions were nixed as to who had prevailed, but the judges awarded the victory to Brooks, seemingly derailing Bellator’s plans for their blockbuster rematch.

The co-main event was just as close but not nearly as exciting. The win was awarded to Rampage Jackson, though it was clear to all watching that these two legends of the sport were certainly at the end of their competitive career. There seemed to be a sadness about their attempts to stay relevant in an ever improving and evolving sport.

It is important that there are multiple MMA promotions. It provides fighters with an element of choice in their careers and also aids in the growth of MMA as a sport. The truth is though that no promotion, including Bellator, comes close to being competitive with the UFC in terms of fighter stable or marketing prowess.

UFC returns next weekend on pay-per-view. I will wait to compare viewer statistics, but I image they will far outdo Bellator’s pay-per-view debut this weekend.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty

Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album