Bellator Circus of Destruction – A Massive Hit!
I just have to ask:
MMA Entertainment, Legit Sport, Circus Show or all of the above?
Ok, now that it’s off my chest ..
Five days after Bellator 131’s rather captivating debut and I still fully digest the spectacle that I had just witnessed. The new Bellator was noticeably different from the Rebney-era Bellator. From the pro-wrestling style entrances to the cage-side commentary and trash-talking to the gimmicky character Stephan Bonnar was playing—it was all crazy fun. And watchable.
The card was a rousing success and goes to show what Bellator can do with Scott Coker at the helm.
Bellator is growing up. It’s last event drew 1.8 million viewers, peaking at two million, making it the highest-rated MMA fight on cable TV in 2014! The entire fight card delivered 1,241,299 viewers, a record for Bellator on Spike TV (source: cagepotato.com). Its Facebook page and any associated videos also drew record highs.
Even Dana White had nothing negative to say about the event.
All-in-all, arguably the greatest Bellator event. Smashing success.
Homerun! Whatever have you.
The event had a fair amount of buzz to it beginning with Stephan Bonnar and the masked guy “scandal” that even Coker said he wasn’t aware of. Outcry from the general MMA audience of things being like “pro wrestling”; it generally felt like it and maybe Bellator’s partnership with TNA wrestling influenced this event’s promotion.
The way Bonnar carried the promos were eerily pro-wrestling like and Tito Ortiz responded in Tito fashion, candid and angry. The fight itself was what most educated fans expected: sluggish and sloppy. Bonnar was noticeably out-of-shape and did little outside throw punches while Tito looked like the much better fighter.
Tito would win the split decision giving him consecutive wins since he beat ol’ man Ken Shamrock way back in 2006. And all of a sudden, Tito’s stock has shot back way up. Two straight wins? Two million viewers?
Is it the golden age of MMA again?
The rest of the card had some literally crazy fights, none crazier than the co-main event. The fight was the most significant as “Ill” Will Brooks and Michael Chandler engaged in what was a grinding type of fight until a perplexing series of events happened.
Chandler waved his arms like something was wrong, turtled up and then “quit” the fight as Brooks won by TKO. After the fight, Chandler was as confused as everyone. He had no recollection of what happened and replay showed Chandler with a dazed look right before turtling up.
Will Brooks literally knocked Chandler senseless. He may have knocked him into a different time frame. Holy crap.
Then we got a kickboxing fight in an MMA event basically. Booked to promise a highlight knockout, it did just that. Kickboxing import Joe “Stitch ‘em Up” Schilling knocked Melvin Manhoef out cold.
Tito Ortiz is still one of the biggest draws in the business
A couple of squash fights rounded out the card as King Mo squashed Joe Vedepo in a hard-to-watch finish in round three.
Mike Richman pulverized Nam Phan in just 46 seconds. Phan had eight fights in the UFC and was never finished. It was unlike him to quit so easily. This was a guy who fought Dennis Siver and Mike Brown to decisions. Rock ‘em sock ‘em robots? Glorious and entertaining in all its base form.
Then Richman called out Joe Warren—doing commentary cage side—and he replied in fashion. More showbiz reminiscent of pro wrestling.
Bellator the crazy but amusing ugly cousin of the UFC and I mean that in a great way!
Tito Ortiz is still one of the biggest draws in the business despite his controversial status. Let’s call this new Bellator the crazy but amusing ugly cousin of the UFC and I mean that in a great way! UFC is still where all the “best fighters on the planet” go and from a competition perspective that’s the mecca.
Bellator offers a completely different product—not the highest level of MMA—but easily one of the most thrilling.
Here’s hoping this new Circus Of Destruction is just the beginning.