(Click image for the full-size version. Yes, Eddie Alvarez is indeed listed as “hostage.” Image via @NewYorkRic)
For MMA fighters, one of the most tried-and-true methods of getting attention is to publicly challenge a fighter who’s a lot more famous than you. If you’re Conor McGregor, you call Diego Sanchez a fat has-been. If you’re any UFC middleweight who needs some fans, you call out Michael Bisping. If you’re Khabib Nurmagomedov, you put together a nice photo-collage of Hispanic lightweights for your dream-board. If you’re Jacob Volkmann, you threaten President Obama then get visited by the Secret Service. Sometimes, the resulting heat is loud enough to get you noticed. Sometimes, it’s just transparent and crazy.
Case in point: On today’s installment of The MMA Hour, World Series of Fighting Executive Vice President and matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz challenged Bellator to a roster vs. roster pay-per-view event, with WSOF’s best fighters facing off against Bellator’s top talent. Abdel-Aziz even took the time to lay out what the hypothetical fight card might look like, as illustrated in the Excel document you see above.
“Listen, a lot of people said Bellator [is] number two and a lot of the media said Bellator is number two, but I believe it’s all about winning.” Abdel-Aziz said. “If we line up nine of our guys and nine of their guys, I believe we’ll win. We are number two, strong number two.”
Abdel-Aziz suggested that the event could be a “winner take all” card, in which the pormotion that came out on top would keep all gate receipts and PPV revenue. And despite the ludicrous, won’t-happen-in-a-million-years nature of his proposal, Abdel-Aziz insists that this isn’t just a publicity stunt:
“A lot of people wanted to see UFC vs. PRIDE. It never happened. Strikeforce vs. UFC. It never happened. But why not get the fans excited and give them something they want? It’s great for everybody if we want to grow the sport. If we can put on a megashow like that and entertain the fan, why not?…
“I want people to stop saying we’re not number two because I believe we are number two. Look at our fight card. They have great fighters, but you can’t bring in Brazilian and Russian fighters to try to market them in America. I think we have a lot more Americans.”
‘I’m not trying to get attention. This is real. I really mean it and the winners are the fans and the fighters.”
Alright then. My only question is, would the winner of WSOF vs. Bellator then fight the UFC for the Promotion vs. Promotion Superfight Fantasy Title? And would any MMA promoter in the world agree to these wacky “winner takes all” financial terms? This shit is like Billy Madison meets Diggstown. Then again, I’d happily pay $19.99 to watch Tyrone Spong beat up Rampage Jackson.
Like any ambitious small-time MMA fighter calling out a big fish, Abdel-Aziz is even working on a grudge match angle for his challenge of Bellator:
“I like Bellator, but I don’t like certain people in Bellator,” he elaborated. “They recently did something very disgusting and very dirty. They tried to take something that’s not theirs.” Abdel-Aziz suggested he’d reveal what that was at a later date and suggested Spike TV, Bellator’s television outlet, might not even know about it.
He also noted the saga with Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez is a cause for people, especially fighters, to give WSOF a second look. Abdel-Aziz underscored his point by listing Alvarez on the side of the proposed WSOF vs. Bellator card with a label of ‘hostage’ under his name.
“One of the things we will never do is keep as guy who doesn’t want to be in World Series of Fighting. For example, if you go to war and you get caught in a crossfire, you can’t be torturing and shooting people because they’re prisoners of war. You have to go by the rules. I believe Eddie Alvarez is a hostage.
“It put a lot of questions in fighters’ mind. ‘Do I really want to sign with this promotion?’ It really made a lot of people scared,” he said.
As of now, Bellator hasn’t officially responded to Abdel-Aziz’s plan, which means only one thing: Ali Abdel-Aziz now has to release a parody video full of wacky costumes and stupid accents. It’s the fight game, dude. This is the only way things get done.