When Scott Coker took over as Bellator MMA president, many folks crapped on him after Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar had their little square off in the cage.
About a year in office, things seem to be Coming Up Milhouse for the company for the promotion and it can only get better with the announcement of Bellator and Glory World Series co-promoting an event in September.
The MMA portion of the card includes a light heavyweight title bout between champion Liam McGeary and UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz and a four-man tournament where the winner fill face the winner of the 205-pound title match.
I’ll admit that I’m someone who stuck it to Bellator for showcasing old UFC talent above their homegrown stars. From a marketing standpoint, an event like this needs a star like Ortiz in the main event of the MMA portion of the card. And it’s not like Bellator is giving “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” a title shot right off the bat. He’s had two impressive performances in the Bellator cage over Bonnar and former middleweight titleholder Alexander Shlemenko.
Then there’s the four-man tournament featuring the debuting “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis, as well as the returns of former champion Emmanuel Newton, and challengers Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Linton Vassell. I’m a big fan of tournaments and there’s some good stories to be told in this competition. You have Newton, the former titleholder trying to get back to the top of the mountain. There’s King Mo and Vassell, who are looking to get another crack at the belt. Mr. Wonderful, who wants to make his mark in the promotion.
The kickboxing portion of the event is kind of light. It features Paul Daley and former Glory champion Joe Schilling. Daley has some kickboxing experience – including a 20-0 record and a couple of titles under his belt. Schilling’s bread and butter is his striking and Glory fans will be excited to see “Stitch ‘Em Up” in the ring. Hopefully there will be 2-3 more kickxboxing bouts added to the card.
I like that Glory and Bellator are co-promoting an event together. It’s reminiscent of the New Year’s events held in Japan. Although we may not see an awesome display of pageantry, we’ll see some good action.
This is also smart on Spike TV’s part. The UFC has the mentality that it’s in competition with other television programing – particularly sports – while Spike is encouraging its combat sports to – for lack of a better term – give each other some love. It’s a good way to create awareness for their programs and bring in new viewers.
Logistically it will be interesting to see if promoters use a cage, a ring or both for the event.