Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bellator is Back!

Bellator is back with season 6, including tournaments in five weight classes.  Most MMA promotions, big and small, are lovable for their own reasons.  I love the UFC because it has most of the best fighters and I love the over top American-ness of it.  I love to watch any event that HDnet covers so I can hear some Schiavello commentary and local promotions all have charms of their own.  Bellator sets itself aside though because its tournament format works for so many reasons.  I have previewed Bellator 60 over at MMAplus,  but below are some of the reasons this promotion is great.

via mmavalor

Title Shots Are Earned
In Bellator, there is no MMA politics.  A fighter cannot do what Chael Sonnen and Ronda Rousey have recently managed to do in the other top American promotions and talk themselves into title shots.  To get a title shot in Bellator, you need to win three tournament fights.  While this means that popular fighters like Ben Saunders might not get the biggest fights in their division, you can be sure that there is sporting justification for all the match-ups (during tournaments).

Everyone Knows Where They Stand
In Bellator, every fighter and fans knows what is at stake in more or less every match.  If it is not a tournament match up, then you are fighting to justify yourself a tournament spot.  In the tournament, those who win progress and no one should end up with a title shot without at least a three fight win streak.  From a sporting perspective, that is about as fair as it gets.

Tournaments and Seasons Are Exciting

I do get a little bit upset when Bellator is not on during the winter but in reality, I think the seasonal format is great.  It means that no only does everyone know what to expect in terms of match ups, we shouldn't be left waiting while fighters and managers wrangle over who to fight or wait for the fight they like.  Fights happen when they should (except for the occassional title fight).  While the tournaments take away a little of the fighters' security, the all or nothing format makes it incredibly exciting and makes for great performances.

It's not owned by Zuffa
I have nothing against the UFC or Strikeforce, although obviously all organisations have problems.  It is great though to watch a show which is refreshingly different in format and production and it gives a little bit of hope that the world of mixed martial arts will not some day be owned and run by the same few people.

That's it then, I love Bellator and I have unashamedly told you why.  Sure, I have some gripes about the lack of action for the champions, the weirdness of having a champion of a weight class defeated in that weight class but remaining the champion (Christian M'Pumbu) and fighters would be better placed to teach us submissions than the Bellator girls, but all in all, I am glad Bellator is back.

What do you think?  Did I miss something off the list or have ignored some obvious flaws?  Hit the comments section below and let me know.

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