Even conjuring up opposing opinions within the SciFighting team, UFC 177 managed to exceed the expectations of its lacklustre card. That being said, there’s no doubt that to many MMA pundits and its television audience, UFC 177 was a disappointment.
“The rest of this card is awesome, and I’m excited for it.” Dominick Cruz, Liar. #UFC177
— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) August 31, 2014
Of course UFC 177 was "fun." MMA is fun. Free shows on Spike and Fox Sports are fun. That's why we watch. My point: why was this one $55?
— Jonathan Snowden (@mmaencyclopedia) September 3, 2014
— Callum Leslie (@CallumLeslieMMA) September 3, 2014
A distinct lack of bigtime bouts and continued injury woes have made 2014 a rather uncomfortable year for UFC fans. This simply isn’t the promotion that helped grow the UFC audience to the dizzying heights that it has enjoyed over the past decade.
What’s more, the same success that made UFC the biggest name in MMA is part of the reason that so many competitors to their crown are now finding themselves able to take potshots at the promotion that was, at one time, so dominant.
Anyone who was watching pro wrestling during the late 90s will be well aware that competition between two similar promotions can lead to a hugely improved product for the fans. When Bellator and UFC both running concurrent events for the first time in Connecticut on September 5, we might be about to see a similar situation ignite the world of MMA.
If UFC are suffering a run of bad luck, the same cannot be said for Bellator as of late. Their strong card for Bellator 123 includes a compelling must-win match for Bobby Lashley as well as a tantalizing bout between Cheick Kongo and Lavar Johnson.
The opportunity has presented itself for Bellator to truly make a statement of intent towards being the number one MMA promotion in North America. On paper, the card assembled for Bellator 123 could very well beat out UFC Fight Night 50 — and that’s a possibility that UFC top brass are already preparing for.
Bloody Elbow reports that UFC have delayed their main event matches such that they will not go head-to-head against Bellator’s top bouts. A last-minute move like this would suggest that both sides are aware just how enticing Bellator 123 is to MMA fans.
We could very well be looking at the beginning of a boom period for MMA. A success for Bellator could very well set the stage for an entertaining period of competition between the two heavyweight promotions. Whoever comes out on top between Bellator and UFC, the benefit to the fans will be in a huge amount of great action from both side.
Which bout has you voting with your wallet this weekend? Let us know where your dollars are going in the the comments section below.