Bellator has made some pretty big moves as of late and is clearly headed in the right direction, however they’re dropping the ball with their handling of Bellator 180.
Don’t get me wrong it is a terrific card. It will likely be the best and the most successful card in the promotions history. Two title fights and the promotional debut of two of their biggest acquisitions, but in my opinion the layout of the card is all wrong. How is Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva headlining this card? I know what most people are thinking it should be Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione…No, no it shouldn’t. It should be the title fights and for multiple reasons.
This card will likely have the highest viewer rate in the promotions history. They have a huge opportunity to push the Bellator brand and they’re dropping the ball. Nothing should be bigger than the title fights. By headlining Sonnen vs Silva and Mitrione vs Emelianenko they are sending the message that these four ageing veterans are bigger than the promotion. That is not the message they want to send. When have you ever watched a card where the title fights weren’t the main event. Shit, even Miesha Tate headlined UFC 200 ahead of Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt. Think about that! This is a terrible decision.
Sonnen, Silva, Fedor all have under a handful of fights left. Their careers are on the home stretch. This is a big opportunity to shine the brightest lights on your champions and up and comers. All the aforementioned fighters are going to do their thing and sell the event regardless of where they are on the card. Fedor sells tickets just by being Fedor, Sonnen is going to do what Sonnen does regardless of where he is on the card and Silva is no rookie to selling fights. Bellator should place these guys in a secondary role and allow them set things up to shine light on the title fights. A passing of the torch if you will.
Mike Chandler is one of the best in the world, Brent Primus is one of the brightest prospects in the game, Lorenz Larkin is a big part of this companies future and Douglas Lima is maybe the best home grown talent the promotion has. Burying them on the card sends the message that they’re not stars, that you have no faith in their ability to headline a card. They should be using every ageing vet with a big name they have to help push the younger talent.
Bottom line, the card is great, but the layout sucks and they’re dropping the ball and sending the wrong message. They have been far too reliant on washed up stars with a big name and need to start promoting their champions and up and coming talent. Burying title fights on the card is unheard of and is just asinine in my opinion.