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?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map