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Tag: Bellator

If You Think Dana White Cares About Bellator, You Are a F*cking Idiot (His Words, Not Ours)


(“I sip the Pink Drink to keep from killin’ y’all.” / Illustration via Financial Times)

Hey guys: Have you ever cared about something so little that it makes you super upset, to the point where you have to go on a three-minute profanity-fueled tirade about how much you don’t care? I mean, that’s something we all struggle with, right?

During a UFC 174 press conference scrum yesterday, UFC president Dana White was asked about the September 5th UFC show that will be taking place just miles away from a Bellator event in Connecticut. At first glance, it seems like the kind of counter-programming mischief that the UFC used to pull on rival promotions like Affliction. (Hey, if you have the resources to put on an MMA event just out of spite, go for it.) But as White explains, Bellator has nothing to do with the UFC’s 9/5 date, and you’re stupid for thinking that, and Bellator lied about drawing 100,000 PPV buys for “Rampage vs. King Mo.” Yeah, that too. You can watch the entire rant on MMAJunkie.com; a mostly-complete transcript is below:

“If you guys really think that we look at Bellator and give a shit what night they’re going on and what they’re doing, we don’t. That’s the date that we landed on. We get the dates from FOX. We don’t pick our own dates, we get the dates. They give us the dates they need us to go on. It’s determined by what other programming they have and what’s going on that night.

“There’s nights we’re gonna fall on the same night as World Series of Fighting, too. And I’ve got no beef with those guys. I don’t give a shit what night Bellator goes on, they make no difference to me whatsoever. The day I start worrying about what Bellator…or, ‘I’m gonna go on the same night as Bellator ’cause I want to crush them.’ They’re getting crushed already by themselves. They can go on their own fucking date anywhere. It’s not like me going on the same night is going to do any more damage to Bellator than was already done…

“But if that’s what you really believe, you’re a fucking idiot. You know what I mean? If you really believe that we want to go on the same night as Bellator because…I could give a shit where Bellator goes. What night, what day, or whatever. It’s not like Bellator’s out there killing it and we’re going to go in and take some…I mean, it’s just stupid to even think that. We end up on the same night as many different sporting events, sometimes boxing events we land on the same nights. There’s tons of events and tons of other MMA organizations. I could give a shit about them.

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Bellator’s New Tournament Rules Are Pretty Simple Until You Try to Explain Them


(Bjorn Rebney: The Art Jimmerson of MMA promoters.)

Bellator announced some changes to its title-contender structure today, and I’m going to do my best to summarize them in one sentence: Basically, if you win a Bellator tournament and receive a title shot, you no longer have to win another tournament in order to get another title shot. Which is weird, because didn’t they already kill that rule a long time ago? I mean, how else did Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler 2 and 3 get booked? I can think of several instances where Bellator’s vow that “title shots are earned, not given” hasn’t meant a whole lot.

So that’s the short version. Now read the press release that they actually sent out and get the Excedrin ready:

All Bellator Tournament Winners Now In World Title Shot Pool

Newport Beach, Calif. (June 12, 2014) – With Bellator’s 2014 Summer Series having just begun last Friday, Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney announced today that the promotion has made an addition to its real sport, tournament based* format that allows former Bellator Tournament winners the potential to be granted a World Title fight without going back into The Toughest Tournament in Sports.**

“Just like we’ve done since day one, any fighter who wins The Toughest Tournament in Sports will still be guaranteed a World Title*** fight,” Rebney said. “The addition I’m making here, that I’m really excited about, is if you’ve won a tournament, you’ll join an elite group of athletes who we can grant a world title fight to at any time.”

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The UFC Can Learn a Lesson From Bellator: How to Promote Bad Fights


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

The UFC said “Hey, did you hear there’s UFC FIGHTS™ on tonight? The finest athletes in the world are facing off and it’ll be action packed. Watch it!”

So we took their word for it, and watched. The athletes faced off, but they weren’t the finest in the world, and it wasn’t action packed. The athletes were green, regional-caliber competitors and there was more labored breathing and bouts of stalling than action.

Then the next event came. “It’s FIGHT WEEEEEEK! UFC FIGHTS™ are on again. The finest athletes in the world are doing battle in the Octagon™. Be sure to watch!”

We were skeptical, but being loyal MMA fans, we watched again. We were let down again. We voiced our concerns, only to be told we weren’t Real Fans if we didn’t appreciate the fights the UFC gave us. Not wanting to lose our MMA streed cred, we watched the next event that promised the top 1% of fighters battling in the Superbowl of MMA only to be disappointed.

This is what being an MMA fan has been like for the past year or two–especially since the UFC went full “World Fucking Domination” on us.

Fight cards are tougher to sit through because the talent levels are lower. Sometimes there’s two of these regional-level, star-sparse cards on the same day! And I’m not ragging on UFC Fight Night 42 specifically; on paper the card was pretty decent for a free Fight Night Card. I’m referring to the general lowering of the bar in terms of card quality that’s become undeniable as of late. The most insulting part is all these events are, for the most part, marketed the same way: Here’s awesome UFC Fights. They’ll be good. Watch them or you’re not an MMA fan.

And judging by the decline in interest (and PPV buys), lots of viewers decided they weren’t fans. And I’m not going to go on for much longer because I’ve written about the issue of over-saturation extensively on CagePotato, but the UFC can learn an important lesson from Bellator regarding how it promotes less-than-stellar fights: Be honest.

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Bellator 121 Results: Sokoudjou and James Thompson Emerge Victorious, Thompson Gives Rambling, Incoherent Promo About Testicles


(Oh yeah, and this happened. / via Zombie Prophet).

Bellator held it’s first extremely lackluster summer series fight card tonight with Bellator 121. We take a lot of heat for being negative, but this card warrants the hate. It was easily the worst card (on-paper) Bellator has put on in ages.

Let’s talk about the two fights you probably care about most: James Thompson vs. Eric Prindle and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Professional Jobber Terry Davinney

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Watch a Bellator Cameraman Perv Out on a Female Fan [GIF]

We’ve seen lots of stuff in MMA. Some good. Some bad. Some disgusting.

This GIF is a combination of all three, perhaps. During the Bellator 121 prelims, a cameraman zoomed in on a woman’s upper torso in a way that made their not-so-honorable intentions clear. Check it out after the jump (and h/t to Zombie Prophet):

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Monday Memo: Ben Askren’s ONE FC Win, “Bitches in a Beauty Salon,” And a UFC Champion’s Pay Gripes


(Photo by Mags Icasiano/Rappler)

By Brian J. D’Souza

Five under-the-radar stories you may have missed last week…

BEN ASKREN WINS…NOW WHAT?

Exiled from Bellator, refused a contract with the UFC, and having rejected an offer from the World Series of Fighting, undefeated welterweight and 2008 Olympian Ben Askren chose to seek his fortunes in Singapore-based ONE FC.

Last Friday, Askren improved his record to 13-0 in his promotional debut against Bakhtiyar Abbasov (now 11-3), winning in the first round via arm-triangle choke. This marks the third opponent in a row that Askren has finished. Where does this leave the American wrestler?

Askren spoke to CagePotato.com earlier this year and said that he believed he was the best welterweight in the world, with a caveat: “I definitely agree that [Johny Hendricks] should be ranked number one because I haven’t had the ability to prove I’m number one.”

Askren pointed to bantamweight Bibiano Fernandes and lightweight Mike Chandler as top fighters outside the UFC who could give a good challenge to the UFC’s champions at their respective divisions, but he was adamant that the bulk of the sport’s top talent lies within the UFC.

Unfortunately for Askren, there is no reason why the UFC—or any other MMA promotion—has to sign top contenders like himself. Combat sports have always been a business, with the promoter’s mandate being to maximize revenue.

Unlike the organizational titles in place in MMA, there are world titles sanctioned by third parties in boxing. This means that contenders can climb the ladder with each win against ranked opposition, earning leverage towards a title shot. The system is wide-open to corruption—managers and promoters often pay cold hard cash to advance their boxers in the rankings, evidenced by the 1999 IBF rankings scandal. However, with the right backers, fighters can have more career traction in boxing than currently exists in MMA.

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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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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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Sokoudjou, James Thompson Added to Bellator 121 Main Card [PRIDE NEVA DIE]


(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.

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