By Benjamin Bieker
Last night it was announced that former UFC champions Quinton Jackson and Tito Ortiz would headline the first Bellator PPV this November. While this fight will be sure to create some traction in the news, intrigue fans based on name value, and probably be a decent fight, but at the end of the day does it really matter? A lot of people give the UFC flack for putting on PPVs that do not have heavy implications to the division. It is okay to put a match like Shogun and Chael Sonnen on for free, but to have it as the main event makes as much sense as Bellator’s choice to have Jackson and Ortiz as a main event for multiple reasons.
First, it has not been said, but they would have to be stupid to not put a title fight on this card. The attention alone that will be on the card due to the former UFC champions will be sure to spill over to someone like Michael Chandler or Pat Curran who truly deserve it. The problem is that you cannot have a title fight not be the main event over a fight between two people not even in contention. Like the UFC, there has been multiple times where the co-main event outweighs the main event in interest, but because they carry the title they are in the main slot. Just see this past weekend’s fight between Demetrious Johnson and John Moraga as an example. It is disrespectful to the champions in Bellator to do so, because they have held this company over the last few years. Now, they are giving up their prime slots to people that have never fought for the company.
That is the second reason, because this fight makes the promotion seem like they are riding on the UFC’s coattails. Obviously, Jackson endeared himself to the hardcore fans over in PRIDE, but it is impossible to deny that his title fights, TUF coaching appearances, and notoriety came from his time with the UFC. It is what got him his slot in the A Team movie with minimal prior acting experience. So, Bellator is essentially using two former UFC fighters to build their own brand which is fine, but it is a slap in the face to all the fighters who have helped build them over the year. Most likely the casual fan is going to end up thinking that this is just another UFC PPV at the end of the day which will not really help Bellator.
Lastly, should these two fighters not have gotten a win or two before they fought, or maybe they could have helped put over one of Bellator’s current fighters? Since losing his title, Jackson has gone 4-5 with his wins coming over an aged Wanderlei Silva, he didn’t even knocked out the suspect chinned Keith Jardine, a very close and controversial split decision over Lyoto Machida, and Matt Hamill. It is also worth noting he is currently riding a three fight losing streak as well. Ortiz, on the other hand, has found himself in a 1-7-1 slide since 2006. Among the myriad of back injuries, broken feet, and cracked skulls, Ortiz has only been able to find one win in that span. What does a win for either fighter mean? Nothing. It’s not like either of them can challenge for a title, because at the end of the day they have to win a tournament to fight for the title. So, it will be weird if people even know it is Bellator, and they believe their champion is the winner of this bout, yet on the sidelines sits the real champion Atilla Vegh.
What are your thoughts?