Bellator MMA is moving ahead with their pay-per-view plans despite losing their champion and biggest draw Eddie Alvarez to a concussion. Bjorn Rebney has made the decision to move ahead with former Alvarez challenger Michal Chandler (12-1 MMA, 9-1 BMMA) facing season 9 lightweight tournament winner Will Brooks (13-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) for an interim Title to be awarded and defended until Alvarez returns.
This is the latest setback for Bellator as they initially planed to hold their first PPV last year but were forced to move the event to Spike TV after Tito Ortiz was forced out of his fight with Rampage Jackson due to injuries.
It’s a bold move by Rebney and I think it will be a disappointment for the CEO and Bellator’s parent company Viacom. MMA fans aren’t starving for fights the way they were 10 or even 5 years ago. The UFC is running an event almost every weekend and with more quality free fights available on cable TV or the internet, asking fight fans to shell out $30-$45USD to watch what might be on par with a UFC fight night card is asking too much.
It’s a shame they’ve gone this route as the Brooks-Chandler fight should be a good one and if it were on free TV it would do more to add value to the Bellator brand than the money grossed from the PPV. Early estimates by people wiser than myself, suggest that 20,000 people might shell out for the PPV. My personal estimate would have that number a little bit lower.
Looking at the two fighters, Chandler is a beast. People were looking forward to his trilogy with former BodogFight champion Alvarez as the two are very evenly matched. The crowd and at least one judge at cageside had Chandler as the victor. He’s clearly the best fighter under the Bellator banner with Alvarez on the sidelines.
Will Brooks holds an impressive record but he’s lacking the brand name cache of Alvarez. This could be a decent fight but is it enough to carry a PPV, probably not. If you add in the Rampage-King Mo fight and Tito Ortiz taking on middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko is it then a PPV worth purchasing? That’s for you to decide.