The MMA universe continues to bag on Bellator’s upcoming November PPV. Perhaps today’s news that Eddie Alvarez will indeed be returning to the promotion to rematch Michael Chandler will alleviate the flow of dismissive wanks coming from fans and sportswriters alike. Ah who am I kidding? ESPN piles on:
A quiet rumor emanating from Bellator circles the past few months may also have something to do with the matchmaking. There has been talk of a shift in company philosophy. Not just in the way Bellator finds, creates, builds and showcases fighters, but how it treats the idea of signing once-bankable stars, even if they have little to offer in the cage.
Since Viacom purchased a majority stake in Bellator, Bjorn Rebney has moved from a well-staked-out position of not wanting to sign UFC castoffs to making room on a loaded calender to book a pay-per-view attraction between former champions from any top 10 ranking. So, November’s pay-per-view is, if nothing else (and it’s much more), an important experiment for the people involved in the only real MMA alternative to the UFC.
If it’s important that the experiment does well, I feel bad for Bellator. It’s chances of PPV success were slim even before they picked the wrong headline fight, and yes, Rampage vs Ortiz looks just as bad to everyone else as it does to us.
[L]et’s not pretend that Bellator and Viacom expected the reaction to be quite as negative as it has been to their Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton Jackson headlined PPV. The bout, several years too late and kind of sad, has been made fun of with regularity by the majority of MMA media and fandom. And the first press conference only added to the embarrassment with Rampage’s continued sour grapes lashing out at the UFC and Tito dropping “I’m going to shoot for the moon and maybe I’ll land on a star instead” and “You can’t judge a book by its cover until you’ve turned the page and read the chapters,” to compete for all-time bad quotes.
The fight’s biggest problem: no one believes that the two aged fighters will show up and actually scrap. We’re way too used to them creaking into the cage, putting on piss poor performances, and then revealing another knee injury or cracked skull. “But I really wanted to
come out and put a show on for the fans get paid so I soldiered through.” Thanks guys.
Maybe the latest Jenna / Tito meltdown drama will draw more attention to the fight in a non-depressing way. But I don’t see how allegations of physical abuse and steroid use in an ugly custody war will do anything but put more of a cloud over the whole fight. Rampage is just as likely to spark some sort of gay or transgendered controversy as catch on with the mainstream media, and then you’ve got the Chandler / Alvarez fight where one fighter has basically been legally compelled to participate. It’s a card that makes you go woah, and not in a good way.