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Tag: Bellator 120

Monday Night Wars Alert: UFC and Bellator to Go Head-to-Head in September


(Photo via Getty)

The UFC will be heading to Connecticut on September 5th. The card will air on FS1. Normally we wouldn’t cover such a banal, uninteresting announcement, but something makes it very special: September 5th also marks the date of Bellator’s season 11 debut, and it’s also being held in Connecticut to boot—a mere 10 miles away.

To say this is a big deal is an understatement. Perhaps Bellator’s rumored 100k PPV buys for Bellator 120 turned the UFC’s head, and now they view the promotion as a threat? And what about ratings? Will Bellator and SpikeTV be able to out-draw the UFC and FOX Sports 1?

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Update: Bellator 120 Pulled Over 100,000 Pay-Per-View Buys [WHAAAAAT?]


(Looks like Bjorn is dick-ridin’ all the way to the bank. / Photo via TheExaminer)

Earlier this week, initial estimates pegged Bellator 120: Rampage vs. King Mo as earning 65,000 pay-per-view buys — a number that exceeded the basement-level expectations of most observers. But it turns out that Bellator 120 wasn’t just a moral victory. As first reported by Sherdog (and later confirmed by MMAFighting), Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view card did over 100,000 buys, making it an unqualified success

Sherdog’s report was based on an anonymous source “speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release buy-rate data.” The source explained that the buyrate information will be readily available in Viacom’s SEC filings later this year.

In a statement released to MMAFighting, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney played it cool: “I won’t be discussing specific PPV buy rates, but what I can say is that with one of our main events falling out just seven days before our first PPV, a six figure plus buy rate is a good starting point. But, it’s just that, a starting point. My focus is to continue working with our partners at Spike to create the type of big event experience that we created on the 17th.”

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‘Bellator 120: Rampage vs. King Mo’ PPV Did an Estimated 65,000 Buys


(Image via Spike)

According to a new figure being floated by Dave Meltzer, Bellator’s “Rampage vs. King Mo” event on May 17th did an estimated 65,000 pay-per-view buys.

In a way, that’s a success — despite losing its main event a week out from the show, Bellator 120 cleared the somewhat arbitrary 50k buys figure that was being touted as its break-even mark. It’s not a great number, but it certainly could have been worse. (See: Bodog, Fedor vs. Lindland, 13,000 buys.)

On the other hand, 65,000 buys is still less than half of what the UFC produces on its worst day. The question is, will MMA fans who stayed away from Bellator 120 be swayed into buying future Bellator PPV cards now that we know how bizarrely entertaining they can get? If you’re not psyched about the promotion’s upcoming Super Hulk Tournament, you’re just not a real fan.

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UFC 173 vs. Bellator 120: Which Did More Web Traffic?

By Matt Saccaro

Despite the UFC’s legal team being among CagePotato’s most avid readers, we can’t convince them to give us any insights into the UFC’s PPV business. We can only judge a card’s interest by the PPV estimates that circulate a few weeks after an event has passed.

There’s another way to judge fans’ interest in a particular fight card though: Web traffic.

In between discussions about which IFL team was the best (I’m a huge Quad City Silverbacks fan), we at CagePotato headquarters started opining about how Bellator 120: Rampage vs. King Mo would compare to a low-level UFC PPV. Some of us said it’d bury an event like UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw in terms of traffic, some of us said it would get buried.

Now that fight week(end) is over, we can jump into AnalyticsPotato mode and see which fight card wowed the web more. And to be clear, I’m using unique page views as the primary metric to judge interest. And by “coverage” we mean articles before/during/after the card that are about the card. Seems obvious but it’s important to be clear.

Earlier in the week, we reported on the CagePotato twitter that Bellator 120 received about 34% more traffic, but that calculation was made in error. There were a couple of articles in our UFC 173 coverage that I forgot to include in the tally. However, even with these pieces added, Bellator 120 still wins out. Bellator 120′s coverage, on the whole, received 11% more traffic than UFC 173′s.

Other random insights:

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What the Hell Do We Make of Bellator 120?


(Because Getty had no images from last night. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney didn’t give out the gate numbers at the post-fight presser, even when asked (which probably means they were bad). And it’s still too early to know how Bellator 120 performed at the box office. So, financially, Bellator’s first PPV can’t definitively be called a success or a failure.

Regarding entertainment value, however, Bellator 120 was a success. There were some pacing issues, yes, but overall the card delivered.

In the first fight, Michael Page did his best Anderson Silva impression, knocking out Ricky Rainey (who’s name was hilariously spelled wrong at the post-fight presser) after taunting him mercilessly. In the next bout, former Bellator heavyweight champ Alexander Volkov scored an upset submission win over Blagoi Ivanov.

Then came Tito Ortiz vs. Alexander Shlemenko. Ortiz was the laughing stock of this card, without a doubt. He was a relic from a bygone era who hadn’t won a fight in three years. His ridiculous pre-fight promos (he promised to make Shlemenko “literally shit himself”) only made him look worse. Shlemenko, on the other hand, was Bellator’s middleweight champ and a stern Russian killer. He’d have no problem with Ortiz despite the considerable size difference, or so the world thought. But Ortiz won the fight. He submitted Shlemenko with an arm-triangle choke in the very first round. Then he gave the worst post-fight interview of all time; he pretended to be Hulk Hogan.

As crazy as Ortiz-Shlemenko was, it wasn’t the emotional high point of the PPV, nor was Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks. Chandler-Brooks was not a particularly anticipated match. In fact, the entire Bellator PPV was centered around the rubber match between Chandler and Eddie Alvarez. When Alvarez withdrew due to a concussion, many thought it meant death for Bellator 120. Will Brooks was thrown in against Chandler, but it was a squash match—or at least that’s what conventional wisdom held. But Brooks upended fans and pundits, beating Chandler via split decision. He was made of sterner stuff than we all gave him credit for.

Then we had the main event, Rampage Jackson vs. King Mo. The fight itself was banal. Mo dominated Rampage with wrestling while Rampage landed a couple of decent shots throughout the fight. It seemed like a pretty easy decision win for King Mo, but the judges didn’t see it that way; they awarded Rampage with a unanimous decision. What happened after the fight was the real draw though. King Mo and Rampage started jaw-jacking. During the Spike TV portion of the broadcast, King Mo accused Bjorn Rebney of “dick riding” Rampage. He didn’t hold in such feelings in his post-fight speech, nor did he silence himself at the post-fight presser. Him and Rampage yelled at each other while the presser stream intermittently died possibly due to the sheer volume of viewers.

So what’s the fallout?

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VIDEO: King Mo Goes Off on ‘Dick-Riding’ Bjorn Rebney Following Bellator 120 Loss


(Props: ZombieProphet on Instagram)

“Bjorn, you know what’s up, man — your dick-ridin’ ass. You know who won the fuckin’ fight, you smilin’ and shit. You know I won that fight. Nah, nah. Rampage, nothin’ against you, but I beat you…I won that fight. And [unintelligible] dick-ridin’ ass, ay…”

Out of all the bizarre upsets, indefensible mismatches, and elite-level clowning that took place during last night’s Bellator 120 brilliant train-wreck pay-per-view, Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal‘s furious response to his screwjob decision loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson might be the most memorable moment.

Mo was convinced that Bellator was favoring Jackson in this matchup, and was clearly cranky before the fight even started. When all three judges returned scores of 29-28 for Rampage — horseshit, by the way — Mo grabbed the mic and let ‘er rip. Unprofessional? Sure. The perfect end to an insane, absurd, entertaining night? Absolutely.

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Bellator 120: Rampage Edges King Mo, Will Brooks Out-Points Michael Chandler

Tonight, Bellator will make its first foray into the PPV market after a botched attempt last year. Bellator 120 was originally scheduled to be main-evented by the rubber match between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler, but Alvarez recently withdrew due to a concussion. Bellator matched up Chandler with Will Brooks, and bumped King Mo vs. Rampage Jackson into the card’s main event. We’ve also got Tito Ortiz vs. Alexander Shlemenko, Blagoi Ivanov vs. Alexander Volkov, and Michael Page vs. Ricky Rainey.

In this liveblog of Bellator’s first-ever PPV, CagePotato social media kosmonaut and weekend editor Matt Saccaro will be giving you the results for the PPV portion of the fight card, in case you’re too cheap to buy it or don’t have access to it for some reason. He’ll also be posting quick results from the rest of the event, as well as his typical analysis of commercials on the Spike TV portion of the broadcast.

The PPV begins at 10:00 pm EST. The Spike TV preliminaries start at 8:00 pm EST. We’ll start posting results after the jump shortly thereafter. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest.

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Bellator 120 Weigh-In GIFs: Rampage Jackson Shoves King Mo, Tito Ortiz Has Some Size on Alexander Shlemenko


(Come on Rampage, how you gonna punk King Mo like that in front of his umbrella ho?)


(That moment when you realize you should have brought Berz Dog for backup.)

GIFs via ZombieProphet. Full Bellator 120 weigh-in results are after the jump via MMAJunkie.

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Why Do MMA Fans Want Bellator to Fail?


(“Ay dog, just give it to me straight — am I the father or not?” / Photo via ora.tv)

By Matt Saccaro

Bellator 120 is a day away, but the MMA world doesn’t seem to care…unless of course they’re deriding the Viacom-owned promotion’s PPV endeavors.

People like laughing at Bellator. That goes for both fans and media. MMAJunkie’s Ben Fowlkes noted this phenomenon recently:

You make a fair point about the undercurrent of glee in the response to every new Bellator setback. It reminds me of the late IFL CEO Jay Larkin, who, when convening a conference call to essentially sound the death knell for that organization, bitterly remarked that it seemed to be the most interest the MMA media had ever shown in an IFL announcement. In other words, it’s not just Bellator feeling that sting. As much as MMA seems to recognize the need for a serious competitor to the UFC, it also seems to love to watch those contenders rise and fall. I’m not sure I know why that is, but I do know that, if you are one of those contenders, you don’t help the situation by complaining about it.

So I’m not alone in this; it’s clear that anti-Bellator sentiment is pervasive. But why?

Regarding fans, the sport and the sport’s chief brand—the UFC—are typically conflated. Most casual fans don’t know that MMA and the UFC are two different things. If it’s not UFC, it’s nothing; they’ll believe anything the UFC tells them without question. The UFC’s ability to produce stars might be lacking, but they’re as good at producing ideologues as they ever were.

However, this doesn’t answer why the hardcore fans hate Bellator. Hardcores often have an anti-UFC slant (they’re still mad about Pride and Strikeforce). So it seems only natural they’d be big Bellator supporters, especially since Bellator’s tournament structure purportedly reduces title shot chicanery that the UFC is infamous for. Except it doesn’t. They screwed Attila Vegh because he wasn’t profitable enough. They engineered the season 10 light heavyweight tournament for the most favorable outcome (King Mo vs. Rampage). Bellator went from providing something novel and refreshing to being a second-rate UFC clone. And let’s not even mention pushing an ancient, injury prone Tito Ortiz and a past-his-prime, embarrassingly disinterested Rampage Jackson as superstars.

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Seven Last-Minute Changes to the Bellator PPV That Would Actually Make It Worth Paying For


(Trust us, Bjorn. When Tito pulls out of the Shlemenko fight in a few days, you’ll want to start thinking outside the box. / Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

By Seth Falvo

By now, you’ve all heard the news: The main event of Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view has been cancelled due to one of the headliners getting injured only one week out from the fight…again. Except this time around, Bellator isn’t simply moving the remaining card to Spike TV. Instead, Bellator is making Rampage vs. King Mo the new main event, having Michael Chandler fight Will Brooks for a completely meaningless interim lightweight title, moving Alexander Volkov vs. Blagoi Ivanov to the main card, and asking us to kindly fork over our money for this new line-up.

I hate to be pessimistic, but I really don’t think this strategy is going to end well for anyone involved.

The biggest problem with the “Alvarez vs. Chandler III-free” Bellator 120 is that there’s no hook. Every good pay-per-view has to be about something, and if “These two aging light-heavyweights used to really hate each other five years ago” is that something, it’s doubtful that too many fans are going to spend both their money and a Saturday night on it. The boom period for MMA on pay-per-view is long gone. If a new competitor is going to put on a successful pay-per-view event, it’s going to need a stronger product than UFC Lite — it’s going to need something to make it actually stand out.

So it’s in that spirit that I’ve decided to offer up a few last-minute suggestions to make Bellator 120 a more interesting card, to both the casual MMA fans and the grizzled diehards who Bellator is hoping to attract. All of these suggestions are at least a little crazy. Some are crazy enough to actually work. We’ll start off with what I feel is the most practical, then descend further into madness in no particular order…

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