Bellator 66 went down this past weekend, and it was arguably Bellator’s strongest card to date. The main event featured their biggest star, Eddie Alvarez avenging a previous loss to Japan superstar Shinya Aoki, and the tournament semi finals in the lightweight and middleweight divisions were exciting fights. So why were the ratings the third lowest of all time for Bellator? Let’s take a look…
First of all, the company deserves credit for running more than 60 shows, thy have survived far longer than many other companies. But they have stuck to a formula that has kept them mediocre, and despite having resources and being on TV, they have done a horrible job of developing talent.
I have already ranted enough here about the state of their Heavyweight division. Frankly, it looks like the opening episode of the reality show ‘The Biggest Loser’. Perhaps if they fought for buffet tickets, the company would actually get some of these guys in the ring.
Then let’s take the interesting case of Michael Chandler, the undefeated 155 lb champion who defeated Eddie Alvarez for the belt his last time out. He is headlining this weekend’s Bellator 67 event, taking on faded Japanese fighter Akihiro Gono. How faded is Gono? Let’s just say when he asked for a ride to the airport, people from his own dojo asked him if he is STILL fighting?
And that is the shame of it. Chandler, who took out Alvarez, is the main event, but the match has only been on the books for a couple of weeks. That is not enough time to promote. And they don’t promote. When was the last time you saw Michael Chandler? When he beat Alvarez. he should have been all over every broadcast, in interviews, doing commentary, showing highlight packages. Bellator does not do the extra promotion necessary to build stars.
And they are married to the tournament format, which does not work to develop a roster. Frankly, the only reason to do a tournament and the tournament format is that it is cost effective (IE – cheap) to get a handful of fights from a few guys.
But injuries, lack of depth in talent and an inability to announce and promote the scheduled fights means that the tournament format needs to be scrapped.
The word was that Bellator may be picked up by SPIKETV next year, but with ratings plummeting, let’s see if they are even around.