This week’s announcement by Bellator of an upcoming pay per view for the promotion has been met with mixed reactions within the MMA bubble. “Bellator: NYC” goes down June 24th at Madison Square Garden and I for one am looking forward to many items from the event.
Right off the bat, many are projecting a low number of buys but I feel the counterpoint to these initial thoughts are that the measuring stick being used is incorrect. While on the surface it seems fair to compare projections to those already garnered by the UFC, I don’t believe it is proper to do so. Bellator should simply compare the final numbers to the results it has achieved from it’s past pay per view offering.
Bellator is not the UFC, so I do not see value in measuring the two side by side with many different items. Bellator is it’s own entity, and should only be comparing itself - to itself - and ensure there is no other promotion coming up the ranks to take away it’s market share. The UFC is what it is. To reach for them and compare themselves against their metrics at this time, is not a feasible chore. I say we let them live and breathe separately and when the time comes to compare apples with apples, let’s do so.
As of this writing, the current “Bellator: NYC” and “Bellator: 180” prelim card looks like this:
Main Event: Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
Co-Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione
Welterweight Title Fight: Champion Douglas Lima vs. Lorenz Larkin
Lightweight Title Fight: Champion Michael Chandler vs. Brent Primus
Aaron Pico vs. TBA
I discussed the main and co-main event offerings with each and everyone of my guests on the daily ‘FightfulMMA Podcast’, asking questions of the current lineup, who else can be added, the risk vs. reward factor as well as the science behind the bookings.
Most of my guests questioned why the main and co-main were taking precedence over any championship fights and the devil’s advocate in me pointed to a simple reply: the art of promotion is to use your biggest names to sell the show. Sonnen, Silva and Fedor have more cachet with the mainstream fan (and most of the hardcore group) than Lima or Chandler do. The goal is to sell as many pay per views as possible, not appease anyone who may or may not be happy with where the bouts are lined up on fight night.
Mind you, I do have some intrepid thoughts throwing Silva in as a main event, namely because lately, history has proven the Brazilian is unfortunately injury prone or simply does not make it out to fights. Mind you, with Chael as his opponent, we can bet Wanderlei will be far more motivated to make it to fight night unscathed, that if he was to take on the likes of Mirko Cro Cop in Japan (what was supposed to take place last December).
Many will dumb down the value of Sonnen these days, as even Chael admitted his last performance was a subpar effort (vs. Tito Ortiz). But something tells me Sonnen will not let that happen again, especially over someone he doesn’t have much respect for in Wanderlei.
In Fedor vs Mitrione, the intrigue of ‘The Last Emperor’ will simply not go away. Anytime he’s going to fight, I want to watch. I also want to see him retire for good, but if he wants to fight, especially against a guy like Mitrione (who will give him a good fight), I’m all in.
You better believe I’m also in for the Lima vs. Larkin bout, namely cause I’ve known Douglas for quite some time, and know he will do anything and everything to prove no UFC veteran will take his belt away from him.
And of course, if you aren’t a Michael Chandler fan, or at the very least, do not find enjoyment in watching him compete, then perhaps, You and I cannot be friends.
As we get closer to the June 24th event, we will have plenty of analysis and breakdowns of Bellator: NYC, so make sure you tune in to the daily podcasts and visit the site for all the latest and greatest from the show.
P.S. Scott Coker … if you are reading this, please consider this a “YES” vote to add a potential bout between Light Heavyweight Champion Phil Davis and the newly signed Ryan Bader. And add Michael MacDonald as well. I won’t complain. I promise.