When the UFC moved to the FOX network a little over a year ago, it opened up the opportunity for Bellator, the number 2 MMA company to move to the SPIKE network in 2013. Since then, Bellator President Bjorn Rebney has created a lot of expectations for the changes, heralding an improved roster and a new Reality Show. With the January 17th, 2013 kickoff show Bellator 85, there is still nothing but disorganization, poor management and attrition going on at Bellator. Let’s take a look at what we do know.
Let us compare them to the UFC a bit. The UFC is working on events for the summer already, as complete cards have been published out to March and beyond. Bellator on the other hand is three weeks away from their launch and the incomplete card they are hawking is still filled with TBD announcements.
Rebney touted as innovation a ‘vote for the fight’ by the fans featuring some of their weltrweight divisions more recognizable names, including ‘War Machine’, Ben Saunders, Paul Daley and Douglas Lima. Probably the match would wind up being ‘War Machine’ versus Paul Daley in terms of popularity, but Mr. Machine is hurt and Daley is experienceing legal problems with is visa and won’t participate. So what was frankly a maudlin, average gimmick to start off has become a disaster as Bellator won’t be able to deliver on their ‘Fan Vote’ match.
There has also been big talk about a Reality Series for Bellator, but there has been no information forthcoming about format or participants. What we do know is that there was a lot of talk again about innovation, but the company has given the fans and public nothing to sink their teeth into.
This is what we do know about Bellator’s upcoming shows, less than a month away.
Bellator 85 Card (January 17th):
Michael Chandler vs. Rick Hawn -lightweight title
Pat Curran vs. Patricio Freire -featherweight title
Renato Sobral vs. Mikhail Zayats – light heavyweight tournament quarter final
Seth Petruzelli vs. TBD
Mike Guymon vs. TBD
Jason Lambert vs. TBD
Hector Ramirez vs. TBD
Bellator 86 (January 24th):
Ben Askren vs. Karl Amoussou – welterweight title
Muhammed Lawal vs. Przemyslaw Mysiala – light-heavyweight tournament quarter final
Ben Saunders vs. TBD – welterweight tournament quarter final
Douglas Lima vs. TBD – welterweight-tournament quarter final
This is truly pathetic work on the publicity and roster management end by Bellator and it is sad, because there are a few Bellator fights. Among smaller shows, where adversity often rears it’s ugly head, there is a saying ‘the fighters save the day’ and it is often true and Bellator has been saved by some solid fights by atheltes giving it their all. it is on the organizational end that the company is not delivering, and that is not fair to the talent.
I look for lines to break on these shows during the week of the fight. Bellator forces tha ton the sportsbooks by not delivering a lineup with any sort of build up.