Opinion: Bellator 106 Proves Bellator Should Ignore Pay-Per-View Ambitions
By Michael Hatamoto
Instead of potentially striking out with an inaugural pay-per-view flop, Bellator 106 featured a lightweight championship rematch of Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez and drew an impressive 1.1 million viewers.
The event, which aired on Spike TV, was the most-watched live MMA event in Bellator history – and the most-watched MMA event of fall 2013.
Chandler-Alvarez II was supposed to be the co-main event leading up to former UFC light heavyweight champions Tito Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson fighting in the main event.
Besides the main event of Chandler vs. Alvarez II, I was rather disappointed with the rest of the card. Furthermore, watching Ortiz vs. Rampage as the main event of the PPV would have likely been a disaster – both aging fighters have battled injuries, an ugly war of words with UFC President Dana White, and lackluster MMA skills over the past few years.
However, watching Chandler and Alvarez fight over five-rounds, 25 minutes of a competitive, fun fight made up for everything before it.
For anyone that missed the main event, Spike TV will air Chandler vs. Alvarez II this Friday at 8:00PM EST. Bellator will use the replay as a transition into a Bellator heavyweight with Cheick Kongo fighting Peter Graham and lightweight contenders Joe Warren and Travis Marx.
Besides the UFC, which has seen its own struggles with PPV buy rates, no other MMA promotion simply has the following to host a PPV. Even if Ortiz manages to recover from his neck injury and step into the cage again, I hope Bellator puts him in the cage against Rampage and it isn’t chosen to headline a PPV. If anything, a possible trilogy fight in 2014 between Alvarez and Chandler should headline any Bellator PPV card.
Ironically, I was unable to watch UFC Fight Night 30 due to Comcast not broadcasting FOX Sports 2, so I had to watch the event in Spanish. It’s these types of small hiccups that could lead Bellator to long-term success with its free MMA events, especially if CEO Bjorn Rebney can continue to convince Spike to promote its cards.