Bellator is the better MMA option

Gareth Hunter Roar Rookie

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    Bellator are putting broken-down Ken Shamrock (left) back in the MMA ring. (AP Photo/Laura Rauch)

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    Four years ago, if you had asked me what ‘Bellator’ was? I would not have been able to tell you. Fast forward four years, I get excited every Bellator event.

    What’s Bellator? Created in 2008 by businessman Bjorn Rebney, it started off as a more tournament style Mixed Martial Arts competition, in the style of the old school UFC tournaments.

    Bellator did it over a season in comparison to UFC who did it in one solitary night.

    The past few years it has shied away from that style and adapted to the way that other major promotions do it, such as UFC and ONE.

    In years passed, Bellator was a platform for up and coming fighters looking for a way to break into the UFC, or it was a place for old and tired UFC fighters to come and die.

    Fighters such as Eddie Alvarez was a major star in Bellator and one of its main draw cards. Alvarez later transitioned to UFC where he became a one-time lightweight champion.

    Since then, people have realised that Bellator is not just full of old timers and “circus fights”.

    Isolate 2017 for Bellator, it has been a massive year for the promotion. Having its first Pay-Per-View since 2014, which turned out to be a huge success.

    Highlighted by an impressive co-main event between former UFC heavyweight contender Matt Mitrione and arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time, Fedor Emelianenko. The match-up turned out to be a short-lived affair following a double knockdown, but Mitrione was the one who recovered quicker to finish Fedor on the ground.

    A great win for Mitrione, who has slowly and low key, become the face of Bellator alongside Welterweight undefeated phenom, Michael Page.

    Bellator boasts an abundance of talent throughout its weight classes. This year alone Bellator has signed massive free agents Kevin Casey, Rory McDonald and Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson.

    Not to forget recently signed welterweight Lorenz Larkin and new Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader. In the past Bellator has signed huge free agents Phil Davis and Rampage Jackson. Twice!

    The free agents are huge for Bellator, but their current homegrown talent is frightfully promising. Bellator mainstays such as undefeated welterweight Michael Page, former lightweight champion Michael Chandler and former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion King Mo.

    Then there are the ‘Sleepers’, fighters who have low key succeeded and cemented themselves as dominant forces in Bellator.

    Liam McGeary at one stage was one of the best Light Heavyweights in the world. Then you have British sensation Linton ‘The Swarm’ Vassell, who absolutely embarrassed him in a unanimous decision win a few months ago.

    Linton has slowly become an absolute beast for Bellator, slowly improving on every aspect of his game. I say give him one more ‘tune up’ match against a contender fighter, and give him a chance against Champion Ryan Bader. Technically, that would be the beast fight of the year.

    The main reason why some fight fans are switching from UFC to Bellator, or simply prioritising Bellator over UFC, is because Bellator is free to air on Spike TV.

    Yes UFC has free view events, but a majority of the time is low tier fights. Bellator’s free to view events are the best they have to show.

    The UFC in recent times has become the ‘Conor McGregor show’. Given free range to literally do what he wants because he brings in ratings and money. The latter being Dana White’s main objective in life.

    McGregor rarely defends any of his belts with two weight classes being left to idle by why he makes money fights. Don’t get me wrong, Bellator has it’s holding weight classes too. That comes down to the fact waiting on the right contenders and waiting on injuries.

    UFC and Dana White are known to not look after their mid-tier fighters, such as Ryan Bader and Roy Nelson, who have recently made the leap to Bellator. Give it another year, Bellator talent will be on par with the UFC’s.

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