I haven’t watched this evening’s Bellator event yet, so PLEASE NO SPOILERS, but some big, big, terrible news was announced during the broadcast (and via press release). Okay, deep breath. I’m just going to go ahead and say it.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito “The Bathroom Mirror-Shot Assassin” Ortiz have been booked to face-off in the main event of Bellator’s first-ever pay-per-view card, which will be held Saturday, November 2nd, at the Long Beach Arena. Some obvious questions come to mind:
- First off, is anybody actually going to pay for this? Bellator hasn’t announced the price they’re seeking for this PPV, but anything over $9.95 is pushing the limits of reality. Bellator’s main selling point has always been the fact that it’s free. Take that away, and you’ve got…well…two broken-down ex-champs who we haven’t cared about since a white man was president. I mean, let’s be real: If this fight was announced in the UFC, you’d roll your eyes. I’m not sure what kind of reaction Bellator was expecting here, but the one they deserve is this one.
- What happens when a cable TV company creates a weird co-promotional relationship between an MMA promotion and a pro-wrestling outfit, and books two longtime friends (one of whom is actually transitioning into pro-wrestling) to “compete” in an “MMA fight”? It all feels a little too cozy. I’m just saying, if I ran a sportsbook, I’d think twice about accepting bets for this one.
- It’s nice to see Bellator following TNA wrestling’s business model of booking has-been talent to fight each other at least six years after anyone gives a shit. Okay, that’s not really a question, so much as a comment that Seth Falvo made to the CagePotato staff over email, but I thought it was worth sharing.
- Does Bjorn Rebney have any say in this company anymore?
- What other throwback fights will be on the undercard? Frank Shamrock vs. Ken Shamrock? Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior vs. The Iron Sheik (steel cage match)? Zimmer vs. Martinez 2?
After the jump: Some depressing quotes from the press release, and the first official poster…
“To have two of the biggest names in MMA headline our first PPV is awesome,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “Rampage vs. Tito is a fight I’ve wanted to see for years and to have it as our Main Event on our first Pay-Per-View is a spectacular next step in Bellator’s evolution. They’re both re-energized, excited and ready for a war. This will be a great fight.”
“Honestly, I feel like I’ve been re-born,” Jackson said. “My excitement, energy and aggression, it’s all back and bigger than ever. I feel like a kid again. The Rampage you’ll see Nov. 2nd will be better than any Rampage you’ve ever seen. Everybody knows Tito and I have a very long history. He’s a former teammate and friend, and it’s one of the reasons I stayed away from the UFC as long as I did. But, I want to be very clear; any sort of friendship we once had doesn’t exist when that cage door shuts. I’ve got a ton to prove on November 2nd, and unfortunately for Tito he’s the guy I have to make an example of. He’s in my house now and Saturday, November 2nd on PPV, it’s going to be a horrible night for Tito Ortiz.”
“I’m back,” Ortiz stated. “Over the last few years, my passion for MMA was completely killed, dealing with UFC politics and with Dana. I didn’t have that drive to compete, my heart wasn’t in it. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m free. Bjorn and Bellator put together an opportunity that made me part of the promotion, part of the family. I feel like I can breathe again and my old friend is going to be on the receiving end of all that happiness turned into an old school Tito Ortiz ground and pound beating. I’ve fought and beaten the very best in MMA history and on Nov. 2nd, Rampage will be the next huge win on my record. This is a new era for the People’s Champion.”