When news broke that Tito Ortiz’ long-standing neck injury had put the kibosh on his scheduled November 2 bout with “Rampage” Jackson, Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view quickly went up in smoke.
The big name recognition that Ortiz and “Rampage” garner was gone, and so was the event’s drawing ability. However, it was announced that the lightweight title rematch between Michael Chandler and the man he took it from, Eddie Alvarez, was still on and set to headline Bellator 106, which now air live on Spike TV for free.
In a roundabout sense, it actually works out well for MMA fans, who were largely on the fence about actually paying to watch Bellator.
Now, they won’t have to.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney addressed the issue to MMA Mania soon after the whole fracas erupted, making a good point that there are still some top-level bouts left for the once-historical card:
"I've said it since the day we announced the fight that Rampage vs. Tito was a fight I had wanted to see for years, and it's unfortunately something I'm going to have to continue to wait to see. After sitting down with our team and partners, the decision was obvious: Give the greatest MMA fans on earth this amazing show live and free on Spike. Our fans have been incredible to us and I'm thrilled to be able to give them this great card on the greatest network in MMA, Spike! Chandler vs. Alvarez II, Mo vs. Newton II and Curran vs. Strauss II are all unbelievable fights. This is going to be a great, great night."
Indeed it will be great to watch “King Mo” lock horns once again with light heavyweight tourney winner Emanuel Newtown, who put Lawal’s lights out with an incredible spinning back in their first bout. And Pat Curran is a dangerous featherweight who deserves to be showcased.
But to shell out your hard-earned money, especially when there are some seriously hard-hitting UFC PPVs set to pop off, is a bit of a stretch. Sure, Ortiz and Jackson were once kings of the 205-pound hill, but that ship sailed long ago. Really the only thing they had left to offer the MMA world was their names, because injuries have long since ravaged their bodies. Ortiz has some obviously serious neck issues; “Rampage” has gone through hell and back to get his knees back to fighting shape.
Bellator may have gotten a bit too big for their britches. Now they won’t have the chance to find out if it was the right move or not, but maybe that will work out best for the fans and the promotion.
Chandler is one of the finest lightweights fighting today; Alvarez isn’t far behind. Their November 2011 classic rates as possibly one of the best MMA fights of all time, and they definitely have the potential to repeat it.
The fans should be treated to an awesome event on November 2. It’s just better that they didn’t have to buy another PPV to see it. That could have truly created some serious cases of buyers’ remorse when November 3 came around.