For those that watched Bellator 110 on Spike TV last night, they know that both Quinton Jackson and Muhammed Lawal won their respective fights. As such, the pair will be squaring off against one another in BMMA’s heavyweight tournament finale, with the winner of the bout moving on to face current champion Attila Vegh.
As the Uncasville, Connecticut broadcast drew to a close and ‘Rampage’ Jackson was at the Octagon’s center with BMMA analyst Jimmy Smith, Jackson, as if on cue, launched into a tirade, referring to himself as a “monster” and stating that he was going to take out every fighter in Bellator, beginning with Lawal; “you next.”
With that and again, as if on cue, ‘King Mo’ stepped forward and shouted something in return and then a mass of bodies stepped in to fill the void, keeping the two apart.
To be blunt, the whole thing looked staged and had a “WWE” vibe to it.
In pursuit of getting to the bottom of it – was it organic or was it staged – Sherdog writer Jack Encarnacao probed “Mohegan Sun” regulator Mike Mazzulli on the question.
When asked if it was important for him to know – from either Bellator or Spike – whether or not the incident was legitimate or a stunt and whether or not it would be relevant to his looking into it – sanctions being the issue – Mazzulli responded as such:
“Absolutely; you hit the nail on the head. I was told about it, I was told about it yesterday at the weigh-in, and that’s why there would be no cause and effect to it. I absolutely had a, yeah. And it’s something I don’t like speaking about. But, you know, you ask me the question, I’m going to tell you the truth.”
However and in follow up with Sherdog, the regulator appears to back track on his original statement.
As Mazzulli corrected:
“Basically what they stated, they said, as you know, both fighters get very excited after the fight, and words may be said. Nothing was discussed about a fake fight and being ready to stop it, that was absolutely not the case. The case was that the two fighters get very excited, and if something occurs, we're going to stop it, but I just wanted to give you a heads up that they're very emotional after each win. There was nothing about a setup or any of that, absolutely not.
I regulate combative sports; when it comes to the production of the TV and everything, that's not for me to say unless there's a safety issue with the fighters. And if something did occur to the point where I felt it was excessive, a sanction would definitely have happened. But I was not told they were going to yell at each other, any of that. I was just informed that both fighters get very - I guess you want to say, "pumped- up" - and are very verbal, and everyone knows that they are.
By view of the event and the reading of Mazzulli’s statements, fans are likely to conclude that Bellator’s 110 Jackson / Lawal Octagon outburst wasn’t much more that a pre-arranged stunt and one intended to hype their upcoming fight.
If so, BMMA should put a stop to such practices immediately. The brand is better than that and they don’t need such antics to promote their cards. More importantly, it makes the sport as a whole look bad. Finally, it’s an insult to fans that tune in or buy tickets. Most, if not all fans, are far too bright to fall for that type of junk / hype and can spot it from a mile away as being phony.
On the issue and if it was staged, then BMMA deserves a big fail for it.