By Shep Ramsey
Unless you’ve been trapped in your basement savoring celebrity nudes for the past few days, you can’t ignore the UFC vs. Bellator showdown this Friday night. Both MMA organizations are going head-to-head, and to make the pot even sweeter, both events take place in the not-so-glorious state of Connecticut.
Not since Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson’s match of “Who Can Run Faster, You or Me” has the sporting world been on the edge of their seats for something of this magnitude. But first, a brief rundown of what’s been happening in each promotion.
Let’s begin with Bellator, the little-brother league that used to hold tournaments not only for its fighters to earn title shots, but also to give champions 14-month periods of rest between fights. Viacom, the mega broadcast company that currently pulls the strings, recently axed Bjorn Rebney from his presidential post for being a “dickrider,” and brought former Strikeforce mastermind Scott Coker into the fold to run this promotion before it runs itself into the ground. I mean, who else brought you the demise of Fedor Emilianenko, premiere women’s MMA battles, Frank Shamrock getting his arms broken by kicks, a post-fight brawl involving Californian gangs, and Gus “Call of the Century” Johnson?
As for the UFC, the promotion started out as an addictive source of violence after two casino heirs-turned-bodybuilders used their papa’s money to hire King Kong Bundy in a dress, and revolutionized the sport of MMA. Nowadays, UFC head honcho (and the sole reason why MMA exists) Dana White, has turned on the fans, media, and even fighters because nobody is watching the 2,034 shows his company puts on a year. Basically, it’s your fault that the UFC is watered down, and if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, but keep in mind, you’re a piece of trash for not watching and supporting fighters who are away from their families for six weeks. And fuck the media for telling you otherwise, because if they’re not with UFC, they have no business writing editorials or opinion columns that their employers pay them for.
So here we are on the eve of UFC Fight Night 50 (which really feels like 250) and Bellator 123 (which feels like 123, considering we have no idea what happened from 1 to 81). You have to pick one, and this writer is going to pretend that dual television sets, DVR, or sketchy Internet streams don’t exist. Which one is it going to be?
You bet your ass we’re watching Bellator…well, at least I am.
You see, Bellator doesn’t really force me to watch its show; the broadcast is just there. After watching a Spike TV schedule of seven hours and realizing you’ve only seen three shows called Cops, Jail, and World’s Wildest Police Videos, it’s refreshing to see two guys who used to be really good fighters engage in a fight that if were food, would be the sloppiest of Joes. They even put on glorious title fights now and then.
On the other channel (which shows a high volume of Nascar and other crap) you’ve got the legendary Gegard Mousasi against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza battle in a middleweight rematch for the ages. You also have Alistair Overeem potentially ruining a man’s kidney or falling straight to hell after a tap to the chin, Matt Mitrione getting his brain shattered by THE BLACK BEAST, Call of Duty veteran Joe Lauzon going to war, and a bunch of preliminary fights that start right after your morning coffee.
Belltor’s counter-programming effort (because Lord knows THEY should be blamed for this coincidental booking) is another rematch involving Pat Curran vs. Patricio Pitbull for the featherweight title, “The Cheick Kongo Nut Shot” drinking game, the return of the sport’s only royalist, “King Mo,” and a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match featuring Bobby Lashley vs. ‘Merican Samoa Joe.
Look, man…I don’t know about you, but that’s far more tempting than hearing two blokes and a football panel go at it for four hours with an hour of scraps in between. UFC has become the brand Kurt Cobain couldn’t stand, or more so, Metallica after …And Justice For All. Inviting friends over to watch a UFC card basically turns into a sleepover an hour and a half in, shutting your eyes after you reminisce about the high school girls you’re contemplating liking on Tinder. It’s too freaking long, boring, and more importantly, you’re doing them a service by tuning in. In the end, all you get for it is backlash because you aren’t a real fight fan if you didn’t particularly enjoy what you just saw.
With Bellator, I know for a fact it’s going to be a total shit show; they go live from places I’d only stop for Burger King while on tour with my off-kilter punk-folk three-piece band, and truthfully, I have no idea what the process is to attend these fights. That’s what makes it so fun. It’s mysterious, and so goddamn trashy you’ll never stop loving it. Seriously, do the partisans even know where they are?
Also, they don’t bombard me with hours of programming that is deemed necessary viewing while I would love nothing more than to spend my evening in pajamas listening to my wife berate me while on the phone with her friend for two hours. Also, they’re not secretly trying to tell me that Tony Ferguson and Danny Castillo move the needle.
More importantly, they come around every so often, and when their new season hits, I could skip shows without feeling like a worthless peon. Maybe it’s because every event for them isn’t the most stacked show they’ve ever done with the top pound for pound fighter in the world?
If we’re going to do our part to put an end to these slimy corporations stealing the sport we love, we have to fight for our cause. Do your part. We can’t change the world in a day, but eventually, we could rebuild Rome, where organized combat could or could not have first started.
UFC doesn’t care about you more than they do money. And if you’re not making them money — even if it’s a free card — then you’re not on board with the machine. How many UFC events have you watched on
Fart Fight Pass wondering who in the hell was fighting? Do these motherfuckers care about mixed martial arts? They care about the growth of their own, and it’s happening at your own expense. If you seriously paid for UFC 177, close your computer, take a walk outside, and sit down in a park for three hours (minimum) to ask yourself what you want to do with your life.
Bellator doesn’t really give a nickel if you watch or not; it’s simply there. And if you’re on board, they’ll tell you it’s the greatest show on earth. The difference is, they say it followed by a smirk, and a big-ass swig of black label.
That’s what I want fighting to feel like.