Opinion: Bellator Doing The Best With What It Has
By Michael Hatamoto
Former UFC heavyweight fighter Cheick Kongo will make his Bellator debut at Bellator 101 against British fighter Mark Godbeer.
Besides being able to say Godbeer likes to finish his fights – all eight wins finished by KO/TKO or submission – that this should be a standup fight aimed at feeding Kongo a warm-up fight in the Bellator cage on September 27 in Portland.
It’s a shame Kongo vs. Godbeer looks to be the main event of the Spike TV card later this month, which also features four lightweight tournament opening round matches. There is no way Bellator and Viacom will be able to try and market Godbeer as anything more than a can, especially with the fight taking place in less than three weeks.
Kongo left the UFC after losing two of his last three fights, and was 5-4-1 in his last 10 UFC fights – and has shown he can be rocked by heavy punches.
In reality, Bellator is doing the best it can with the MMA talent that is currently available – it takes a lot of time and effort to help develop MMA talent, while signing UFC washouts is an easier way to get a recognizable name in the cage. However, since most fighters released from the UFC are cut due to losing, it’s tough for the No. 2 MMA promotion to immediately sign them.
The Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson Bellator pay-per-view event, however, shows Bellator is willing to gamble on former UFC fighters to draw in new viewers.
Earlier in the year, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney seemed more interested to focus on developing Bellator talent, though realized some type of spark is needed, which is even truer as the promotion tests the PPV market.
Viacom is expecting big things from Bellator and it will be fun to see how Rebney tries to live up to those expectations.