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 411mania » MMA » Columns

Bellator 120 Was The Worst Case Scenario For The Promotion
Posted by Jack McGee on 05.18.2014

We as fans love the sport of MMA. Like anything you're a fan of, it is easy to get frustrated, but at the root of it all, frustration comes from wanting the thing that we love to be the very best that it can be. On Saturday May 17th, it was a big night for our sport. It was the night that Bellator finally stepped off TV and went into the UFC's territory; PPV. The UFC has dominated PPV for years, they are the big dog, and anyone that dared try invade was destroyed. World Fighting Alliance, PRIDE, Bodog Fight, Affliction, YAMMA and other smaller companies have all tried, and they have all been run off or bought out. That is tremendous news for the UFC, but for MMA fans that want options, but for those of us that want to see other fighters and want to see the sport grow, it is bad news. Bellator was stepping up to the plate, they were going to swim with the big dog; and they went in undermanned as Eddie Alvarez got injured. Unfortunately for Bellator, when all was said and done, I feel that the PPV ended up being the worst case scenario for the promotion…

The first thing that went wrong for the company was the Alexander Shlemenko vs. Tito Ortiz fight. I was not a fan of this fight heading in. In my opinion, it was a lose-lose situation. If Shlemenko wins the fight, he beats a guy that is 1-7-1 going back to December of 2006. it does virtually nothing for Shlemenko, because Ortiz has no name value left in 2014. If Ortiz wins, he not only defeats your middleweight champion, but then Bellator has to live with the stigma that "UFC" fighters are superior to their fighters, which is certainly something you do not want. Shlemenko lasted 2:27 with Ortiz, he was under sized and Ortiz made him tap; Shlemenko looked horrible and now has to fight for the company as a champion. On top of that, we have to deal with the "Tito Ortiz is back" hype, which will end when he faces a half way decent light heavyweight. If you asked me to write the worst outcome for this fight, this likely would have been it.

With champion Eddie Alvarez out due to a concussion, Bellator replaced him with tournament winner Will Brooks to face off with Michael Chandler. Once Alvarez was out, I hoped that Bellator would pull Chandler from the show to protect one of the few money matches that they have with their roster. Chandler vs. Alvarez I was an instant classic, and FOTY contender. Chandler vs. Alvarez II was another war, and another great fight with Alvarez getting the title back. Due to the contract situation, the third fight would be the final fight no matter what. It isn't that Brooks wasn't deserving, but you have to protect the brand. They had a damn good fight, very back and forth, and while it was close, when the final horn sounded most felt Chandler won and would be the new interim champion. "Don't let it go to the judges" is a phrase we all hear too often, and when the decision was announced, that was the sound of cash flushing down the toilet. Whether you feel Chandler won or not, on the record books he lost. His brand is damaged, and he has officially lost two in a row. While the trilogy fight still interests me, from a prestige point of view, it took a big hit. Shlemenko losing was bad, this made things worse. But hey, I am sure it couldn't get worse from there…

It did. The main event between Rampage Jackson and King Mo was built up as a grudge match, not only that, the "biggest grudge match" in MMA history. They did a pro wrestling build and in a way did everything right to hype the fight. And then they got in the cage and shit the bed. The fight was slow, boring and completely uninspired. Once it started, any excitement I had quickly disappeared, and I was frankly bored by the fight. And then the decision came. Rampage was announced as the winner, when most thought Mo won. What happened next? Rampage wanted a rematch. Why? First of all he knew he lost the fight, but the other issue is that he has stated that he has no desire to fight Emmanuel Newton for the title. That's excellent, you put the guy in the tournament and he has no desire to fight for the title. He wins the fight to give him a title shot, and he didn't even hype that, he hyped a rematch that no one wants to see. Mo is completely damaged goods now. Two losses to Newton were bad enough, but now he loses to Rampage on the biggest show of the year? How do you market the guy now?

Bjorn can paint the evening as a success all he wants, but he knows that the show was the worst case scenario for Bellator. He refused to offer up gate and attendance figures, and instead of praising his product and trying to worry about his own house, he decided to attack UFC PPV; the act of a desperate man. Bellator 120 could have been huge for MMA, it was something MMA fans wanted to succeed; unfortunately in my opinion, what could have went wrong did go wrong. Just because you can do a PPV doesn't mean that you should put on a PPV, there is nothing wrong with being a successful TV product. Maybe they should focus on that first, get their house in order, and then look into expanding into a PPV market that is dwindling as it is.

Jack McGee is an aspiring investigative journalist with interests covering TV, Movies, Wrestling, MMA and Sports. When not hunting the Incredible Hulk, Jack works on his surfing, his Johnny Utah like throwing motion and origami.


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