Bellator announced that they would run a reality series as part of their deal with SPIKETV, and much innovation was promised as they ramped up ‘Fightmaster’. The announcing of the coaches on the series got Bellator a good amount of publicity, especially around the signing of Randy Couture, which set of a patented tirade by UFC President Dana White. But after seeing the lineup of fighters and watching the first episode, it is clear that Bellator has absolutely nothing new here.
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Granted it is hard to say we have a reality series idea that is completely new, and I give Bellator credit with the cast of coaches they have, you can look for season 1 to be competition oriented and for a lot of the drama to be avoided. But after promises of innovation, letting the fighters pick their coach instead of the other way around seems a little light in terms of change.
Then there is the lineup of fighters. Like the UFC’s Reality show, they chose a weight class and will spend time developing talent at Welterweight, supposedly to create competition for Welterweight Champion Ben Askren.
Thirty two fighters will be down to 16 after an elimination round, again nothing new from TUF which has tried that formula before. UFC rejects Joe Riggs and Marcus Aurelio constitute the most name recognition available for MMA fans, and that is bad. This is not Jon Fitch or even King Mo in terms of UFC rejects, both those guys were cut because they were starting to suck.
The choosing of the coaches is interesting. Warren is a wrestling world champion who competes in MMA because he got suspended by wrestling’s governing bodies for pot smoking. But he is hugely talented and he is the only one of the coaches that Bellator can really claim as a face. Randy is an icon, Shamrock is Shamrock and Jackson is a prostitute.
So here is my betting prediction – A Joe Warren coached guy is going to win this thing. And that guy is going to get killed by Ben Askren.