A superfight between two of MMA’s biggest stars has been made, but is it a little too late?
Bellator MMA made the announcement that former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-11) will take on former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz (16-11-1) in the main event at the first Bellator pay per view, which is scheduled for Nov. 2.
This comes off the heels of the rumors going around that Jackson would fight Roy Jones Jr. in a boxing match at an event that would have been the same night at UFC 168. Still, a super fight has sent waves through the MMA world. But is this the right move for Bellator?
Don’t get me wrong. Rampage was one of the fighters who brought me back into MMA and Ortiz is a legend. A fight between these two would have surely headlined a UFC pay per view back in 2004 or even 2006. However, Bellator has prided itself as an organization where rising stars can fight their way through a tournament and become a champion. Although Jackson and Ortiz have enough credentials to be paid a lot of money by Viacom, neither one of them have fought for the promotion.
Bellator’s motto was once “Where title shots are earned, not given.” Title shots may have to be earned, but the organization is willing to give a main event slot to two fighters who have never fought inside of the Bellator cage.
I’m not saying that Ortiz and Rampage should not fight on the pay per view. It would make a heck of a co-main event. Both Ortiz and Jackson have great wrestling and powerful fists that have helped them destroy their opponents in the past.
Still, the main event should go to two guys whose blood, sweat and tears have fallen on the Bellator canvas. The promotion has seven champions, six of whom are already scheduled to defend their championships. Bjorn Rebney recently made a big deal about 155-pound title holder Michael Chandler’s (12-0) new contract and alluded to how they were going to make him a big star. Having Chandler compete in the main event would certainly help his career.
Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal (12-2 1NC) just won the Summer Series Light Heavyweight tournament. If something happens to Emmanuel Newton (21-7-1) before he gets his title shot, have Mo face Attila Vegh (29-4-2) for the light heavyweight championship in the main event.
I’m sure the Ortiz vs. Jackson fight will make good numbers for Bellator’s first pay per view. But if an organization wants to be taken seriously, they should put their own champions on a pedestal, instead of two fighters who made their names in other organizations.
What do you think of the Rampage vs. Ortiz match? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @alstover.