Bellator will be taking its first stab at the PPV market in just a month and a half with an event headlined by MMA icons Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito Ortiz. In a post Bellator 98 press conference, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney discussed the upcoming event and his organization’s future plans.
“We’re not a PPV company,” Rebney said. “We don’t have to do PPV’s month in and month out to survive and have a positive flow of revenue. We’re a free TV product. We will occasionally do PPV’s but I don’t have projections or benchmarks we need to hit in order for me to be satisfied. I just want to see a recuperated and healed Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. I’ve known Tito for 10 years. Tito’s back, his neck’s good, the knee’s good. I think we’ll see a crazy fight there. Chandler/Alvarez is going to be insane. King Mo and Newton in the rematch is going to be crazy. Strauss vs. Curran, probably the toughest fight that Curran’s had. I think it’ll be really good.”
He also discussed the return of Eddie Alvarez to the promotion. Alvarez is currently set to fight the current lightweight champion Michael Chandler.
“Settled with Ed and he’s fighting Michael Chandler, which should be his total and complete focus,” he said. “I think Mike’s the best lightweight in mixed martial arts today. I think he beats anyone and everyone in any organization. Ed’s a world-class 155-pounder and he’s going to have his hands full. Mike’s gotten better since the last time they fought so it’s going to be an incredible fight. If they give us 50% of what they gave us the last time I’ll be thrilled. It’s the best fight I’ve ever seen.”
Rebney also commented on his promotion’s tournament format, and confirmed that it was here to stay.
“From ESPN Deportes, FOX Sports Network, Mundos and MTV2 we didn’t have enough events with enough size to them to be able to facilitate getting guys repetitive fights,” he said. “Now we’ve got it. Now the system is in place. The tournament format is what we’re all about. That’s what makes Bellator, Bellator. We’re sticking to it, but you’ve got to be able to move and acquiesce and get out of the way of some of the punches metaphorically. You need to be able to make title fights happen.”
“You can’t ask a guy like Alexander Shlemenko, who hasn’t fought in five and half months, to wait another three months in the hopeful anticipation that Doug Marshall’s hand is going to heal,” he added. “We had to come up with a system to backfill that so there was an objective system in place to find out who is going to fight for the world title. It might not be the guy who won the tournament. There’s a step by step, objective process that we put in place. The tournament format is who we are. We’re sticking to it. We’re not deviating from it, but you’ve got to be able to change direction a little bit and fill gaps when they come. That’s what we’ve done.”
Bellator: Rampage vs Tito will take place on November 2 in Long Beach, California. It will air live on PPV.
The current card is as follows:
- Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton Jackson
- Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez
- Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus
- Muhammed Lawal vs. Emanuel Newton