(I love the serious, half-bored expressions on the Japanese fans’ faces, as if Giant Silva vs. James Thompson is something totally normal that happens all the time. / Photo via Sherdog)
If Bellator’s “Rampage vs. King Mo” pay-per-view proved one thing, it’s that the promotion could have a future as the world’s premiere home for high-profile freak show MMA. Sure, they’ll never be able to compete with the UFC in terms of talent, but who else is going to throw together open-weight fights featuring broken-down legends or allow furious losing fighters to grab the mic and insult high-ranking executives in profanity-filled tirades?
To put it another way — Bellator isn’t the best MMA league in the world, but it has the potential to be the craziest, and that makes it undeniably compelling. The promotion surely recognizes this, which could help explain the new signings of MMA freak-show veterans Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and James Thompson. Both fighters have been added to the main card of Bellator 121, June 6th at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma (aka, the event that just lost its legitimate headliner).
Sokoudjou’s career highlights include knocking out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the #1 greatest betting-odds upset in MMA history, then putting together a disappointing 1-2 run in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division, then making it to the finals of DREAM’s 2009 Super Hulk Grand Prix, where he was knocked out by Ikuhisa Minowa, of all people. Sokoudjou has gone 7-6 since then, and has lost his two most recent fights by KO/TKO. He’ll be making his Bellator debut against Terry Davinney, a 10-6 journeyman from Grand Rapids, Michigan who scored a 15-second KO of Matt Van Buren in his sole Bellator appearance.
James Thompson, of course, is best known for the angry faces he was making before getting dummied up by Aleksander Emelianenko at PRIDE 28, smushing noses with Don Frye before beating him to death, suffering a questionable stoppage loss against Kimbo Slice, and an even more questionable decision loss against Mariusz Pudzianowski. He’s won his last three fights, most recently submitting Colin Robinson at something called Underdog Xtreme Championships 2 in Belfast back in March. At Bellator 121, he’ll be facing former heavyweight title contender Eric Prindle, who has suffered defeats in his last four Bellator appearances.
After the jump: Videos of Sokoudjou and Thompson beating the crap out of Bob Sapp.
(Sokoudjou vs. Bob Sapp, DREAM.11, 10/6/09. Listen to Lenne Hardt’s introduction of Sapp from 1:15-1:30. Damn, I’m getting kind of emotional over here.)
(James Thompson vs. Bob Sapp, Super Fight League 1, 3/11/12)