Just last night Bellator put on another great show, Bellator 94 delivered more knock out and submission finishes than decisions and featured some exciting bouts. Bellator is certainly a healthy competitor for the UFC to have around, but I can't help but wonder what will eventually become of what is arguably the second most popular MMA promotion out there.
Bellator was founded in 2008 by Bjorn Rebney and is mainly centred around it's tournament style structure. This is part of what appeals about Bellator to me, the tournament brackets are a clear cut picture of who the champion is and where the rest of the division stand below him. There are no title shots out of nowhere, the best fighters are the ones that face the champions and guys have to prove themselves worthy.
Also worth considering is that being the secondary promotion in MMA does have advantages. One being the regular flow of talent through the organization trying to make it to the biggest stage, the UFC. Fighters like Hector Lombard, King Mo, Eddie Alvarez, the Freire brothers, Christian M'Pumbu, Pat Curran, Alexander Schlemenko, Alexis Vila and Joe Warren have helped to bolster the talent level in Bellator over the years.
This isn't to say that any of the fighters above that are still with Bellator will sign over to the UFC, but the fact remains that most guys want to fight at the best level possible and the UFC doesn't have an open door policy. That's a great thing for Bellator and I relish seeing an organization like this with a deep talent pool.
With promotions like WSOF and other promotions making headway can Bellator keep the talent level up and the sales coming in? I feel like they actually have a pretty good chance, due to the tournament style and the fighters they produce.
You only have to look at a Bellator highlight reel to see some of the craziest inverted submissions, mind blowing knock outs and fight of the year candidates and this is their strongest asset in my opinion. They put on some great shows and for anyone else bar the UFC that is vital.
The UFC can afford a night of boring, drawn out decisions and terrible reffing. Whereas smaller organizations could be facing the chopping block with such a situation. The world of MMA can be very cut-throat from a business perspective. I remember when the UFC had to cancel an entire event, the very same situation elsewhere has spelt the end for numerous promotions. So it is a priority for Bellator to churn out exciting fights and I think they understand that.
I think it is very important to have a variety as a fan of MMA. I don't like to think of a world where the UFC owns or runs every top MMA promotion, I think it would be bad for the sport, and for the UFC. They need someone to keep them on their toes, and Bellator need a bigger organization to do the same.
Another reason the talent pool will carry on to grow is the fact that the UFC are firing guys at an alarming rate and this could actually prove key to Bellator in improving their roster. Where will Bellator be in two years? I think the answer is that they will be putting on some great shows, I think there will be an even deeper talent pool, and I hope that they will continue to grow.
My personal feeling is that the sky is the limit for Bellator, as long as they keep putting on great shows they could be serious competition for Dana and friends.