Bellator has showed signs of life with its impressive ratings for shows featuring Eddie Alvarez and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
The Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler II fight drew the company’s highest ratings ever — 1.1 million viewers. The recent Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Joey Beltran fight drew 793,000 viewers, the second-highest of the season, for the burgeoning MMA company. Will Bellator ever knock off the UFC as the No. 1 promotion in the world? Who knows. Popularity is fleeting and businesses must constantly change to stay relevant with the changing audience.
If Bellator is to survive, it will need to make some drastic changes, both structural and visual, to make it a go.
Here are 5 ways Bellator even the odds against the UFC.
5. Drop The Tournament Concept
Yes, we get it. The tournament format makes Bellator unique. Fights are built on ability and performance not popularity contests to see what fighters will pop ratings. Noble concept, but bad for business. The tournament format makes fighters fight too often and the public doesn’t really care that much. It’s not the World Cup, or even the U.S. Open. Bellator needs to make good TV fights, and create champions for every weight class. Let fighters fight for belts, not tournament titles.
4. Bring Back Women’s MMA
Let’s see, Ronda Rousey becomes the hottest thing in MMA at the same time an upstart women’s promotion, Invicta FC, bursts onto the scene. Sounds like a bad time to dumb women’s MMA doesn’t it? Well, that’s what Bellator did, and no one really knows why. WMMA makes for great television and you rarely see a boring women’s fight. Bellator should be investing in WMMA, not retreating from it. Where’s Rousey gonna go after her inevitable blowup with UFC President Dana White one day?
3. Bring In A Spokesperson To Help Bjorn Rebney
Who’s the face of Bellator? Eddie Alvarez? King Mo? Bjorn Rebney? Yeah, that’s the problem. Rebney badly wants to come across as civil, which is fine, but it’s not making anyone laugh, smile, get angry or outraged. Say what you will about White, but he is the face of the UFC and really great one. Bellator needs a White 2.O; someone who is brash, rude, and smart. Bellator needs someone who can tell like it is, while promoting the company. How hilarious would it be if someone from Bellator said, “Yeah, I watch UFC 167 and thought Hendricks won too, but I didn’t throw a tantrum like Joe Rogan did when the announcement was made. Next time instead of giving Rogan a microphone, White should give him a set of pom-poms and just have him standing in Hendricks corner during the fight.”
2. Sign Mike Tyson Or Another Big Name To An On-Air Analyst Contract
Bellator badly needs a spark from a big name to get the media to pay regular attention. Tyson has been somewhat of a UFC supporter, so he follows MMA. Imagine the promotion: “The Baddest Man On The Planet Comes To Bellator.” Have him coach a season “Fight Master.” Who wouldn’t watch Tyson yelling at young fighter about having the determination to win. It’s gimmicky, yes, but gimmicks draw attention to your core product.
1. Try Pay-Per-View Again
Know this: Bellator’s first PPV will bomb. Just deal with it. But there’s only one place to go after that: Up. If Bellator wants to hang with the big boys, it need to act like the big boys. The marketplace is trained to believe that PPV is special. Bellator wants to be there. Do they have the names to do 300,000 buys? Of course not. They probably would do about 90,0000 buys. In order to get somewhere, you got to go somewhere, and with any luck, they will build momentum and grow their PPV numbers. Alvarez vs. Chandler III, with proper promotion could surprise a lot of people as a strong PPV buy. Every journey begins with a single step.