World Series of Fighting matchmaker, Ali Abdel-Aziz joined Ariel Helwani on this week’s MMA Hour to formally challenge rival MMA promotion, Bellator, to a joint event. Bellator have long been considered the number two MMA Promotion in the world but a change may be on the horizon…
The World Series of Fighting have a strong roster of ex UFC fighters and actively look to sign the hottest up and coming talent. They also make a point of not tying fighters up contracts that make it difficult for them to sign with the UFC when the big boys come calling.
Aziz said that they wanted to use the event as an opportunity to determine which organization should be considered the number 2, behind the UFC. He proposed that the event should be a best of 9 competition, with 9 WSOF fighters taking on 9 Bellator fighters. The show would be headlined by a super-fight between Rampage Jackson and Tyrone Sprong, which wouldn’t contribute to the overall scoring.
Aziz added another competitive edge to the event by proposing that it should be winner takes all. This would mean that both promotions pay their fighters individually and then the winning promotion would take all the Pay Per View revenue.
At first the idea seems a little crazy, but when you start to think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Aziz has also gone to the trouble of putting together a prospective fight card which is enough to get even the most casual MMA fan excited. Here’s what he’d like the event to look like:
Since the show, fans have taken to Twitter to campaign for the event and you can join the discussion by using the hashtag #WSOFvsBellator. Bellator are yet to respond to the challenge but everyone within the Mixed Martial Arts community seems to think it’s a good idea.
Here are just 5 reasons why we think this event must happen…
1. INCREASE IN POPULARITY FOR BOTH ORGANIZATIONS
Bellator and the World Series of Fighting are no where near as popular as the UFC. Right now they are fighting over scraps and only the most hardcore of MMA fans watch the promotions. Bellator have tried various techniques to go mainstream, but all of them have failed. Their reality TV show bombed, their ratings on network TV are very poor and a proposed fight between MMA legends Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz was cancelled when Tito suffered an injury in training.
Both promotions badly need a reason for fans to care about them and they need some way of generating interest. One of the main reasons why both promotions have suffered to gain traction is their lack of star power. Both promotions have a good number of individual stars, but they’ve failed to bring them altogether to compete on one card. This means that there is rarely enough fighters competing on an event to get the casual MMA fan interested and therefore it’s hard for the promotions to grow in popularity.
A joint card pitting Bellator fighters against WSOF fighters would solve all those problems and the two promotions would benefit from the increased exposure. They’d be able to showcase their best talent on one card and the event would also generate a lot of hype in the MMA community. With nothing scheduled in 2014 to get MMA fans excited about either promotion, this seems like the perfect opportunity for them both to hit the ground running.
2. EXPOSURE FOR THE FIGHTERS
Exposing the fighters to a wider audience is beneficial to the organizations, the fighters and the fans. This is because the organizations get to showcase their fighters to a wider audience, the fighters get to raise their profile and acquire new fans and the fans benefit from having more great fighters and promotions to watch as an alternative to the UFC.
A big issue with the top fighters in both Bellator and the World Series of Fighting, is that the talent gap is huge. Over the years we’ve seen fighters like Hector Lombard completely destroy everyone in Bellator, only to perform at a mediocre level in the UFC. Pulling both organizational rosters together would make the fighters more popular, as they would be involved in more competitive fights, more often.
3. GOOD FOR THE FANS
Lets face it, outside of the UFC there’s not much for MMA fans to get excited about. Strikeforce used to put on some great events, but since then Bellator and the World Series of Fighting have failed to fill that gap. Sure they’ve both had great moments, but their fight cards lack star power, which makes it hard for people to get excited about them.
A joint event between Bellator and World Series of Fighting would not only make for an interesting fight card, but the competitive nature of the event would also add a little more spice. Who wouldn’t want to see two organizations battle it out for supremacy? The idea is really cool and it would be great for the fans!
4. PAY PER VIEW = MORE MONEY
Both Bellator and WSOF have struggled to make any money from Pay Per Views, which is the UFC’s largest income stream. In fact, Bellator have been around since 2008 and they’re yet to hold their first Pay Per View event.
A Bellator vs World Series of Fighting event would be their perfect opportunity to break into the Pay Per View market and start generating some serious cash. In turn, this would allow them to grow their organizations and appeal to a wider audience.
Neither organization has enough star power to justify the price tag that comes with a Pay Per View event. If they work together and do joint events, there’s no reason why they can’t do big numbers.
5. GROW THE SPORT
Increased exposure for Bellator and the World Series of Fighting can only do the sport of Mixed Martial Arts good. If more fans start watching more MMA, then that means more money in the pockets of fighters and organizations and the fans get a whole lot more entertainment.
Ali Abdel-Aziz wanted to bring a competitive edge to this event, but it doesn’t mean that this has to be a one off. This could even be an annual event and something for fans to look forward to. The UFC aren’t going anywhere and there are no other promotions that could complicate the relationship between Bellator and World Series of Fighting. By both the organizations working together, they can grow their popularity and also, in turn grow the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
Don’t forget to let us know what you think of this event, by leaving us a comment or hitting us up on our Facebook and Twitter Pages. You can also join the discussion about this proposed event on Twitter by using the hashtag #WSOFvsBellator