Bellator considering more tournaments per season, elimination of non-title fights

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grappler0000
11/8/11 10:30:28AM
Since winning his title two-and-a-half years ago, Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard has defended his belt just once.

The same goes for lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.

But that could soon change. As Bellator CEO and chairman Bjorn Rebeny told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), the addition of more tournaments, the elimination of non-title fights, and continued between-seasons events all could result in the champs defending their titles more often.

Bellator, of course, has carved out a niche in the MMA industry with its eight-man (and eight-woman) tournaments. The only way to win a Bellator belt or to get an opportunity to challenge for one is to win a tourney – which requires fighting three times in as little as 10 weeks.

Recent tourney winner Jay Hieron recently earned the right to fight welterweight champion Ben Askren, who squeaked by with a split-decision victory at Bellator 56. It was a good, competitive fight with plenty of pre-event buzz, and many feel a rematch is in order. But Rebney said his policy isn't going to change.

"Absolutely not," Rebney said. "It was a great fight ... but Jay would have to win another tournament to get another shot."

Thankfully for Askren, he'll have his next challenge soon enough; a season-five welterweight tourney wraps this weekend with Bellator 57's finale between Ben Saunders and Douglas Lima. But that hasn't been the case in other weight classes. Bellator currently boasts eight champions, but despite five seasons and 56 shows, no champion has had the opportunity to defend his title more than once.

Part of the reason is the infrequency of tournaments. Currently, Bellator hosts four tournaments per 12-week season (a tourney also was held during three monthly "Summer Series" events). So without top contenders continually churned out, Bellator has booked a number of "super fights" – non-title bouts pitting a champion vs. what's usually an underdog opponent. For a couple years, Bellator avoided any disasters, but this past month against veteran Travis Wiuff, light-heavyweight champion Christian M'Pumbu earned the dubious honor of becoming the first champ to lose a super fight...

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prophecy033
11/8/11 11:56:43AM
I never understood them having their champs fight fights without their belts on the line. Why not just put the belt on the line and whoever wins gets to fight the tourney winner. Warren lost to Vila and still has the belt.

My line of thinking is how the ufc did it with the winners of TUF:the comebacks. The winners were to fight the ufc Welterweight and Middleweight champs (Hughes and Franklin) but since Franklin lost the belt to Silva, Lutter faces Silva. Could you imagine if Franklin got to keep the belt just to fight the winner of the tourney? That belt wouldn't mean much. That's how I feel about Warren's "belt"
FlashyG
11/8/11 12:02:54PM

Posted by prophecy033

I never understood them having their champs fight fights without their belts on the line. Why not just put the belt on the line and whoever wins gets to fight the tourney winner. Warren lost to Vila and still has the belt.

My line of thinking is how the ufc did it with the winners of TUF:the comebacks. The winners were to fight the ufc Welterweight and Middleweight champs (Hughes and Franklin) but since Franklin lost the belt to Silva, Lutter faces Silva. Could you imagine if Franklin got to keep the belt just to fight the winner of the tourney? That belt wouldn't mean much. That's how I feel about Warren's "belt"



A better example would be Cristian M'Pumbu losing to Travis Wiuff.

Warren lost to Vila in a different weight class while trying to win a second belt.

If Anderson had lost to Forrest Griffin when he went to 205, its not like Forrest would become the MW champion.
Twenty20Dollars
11/8/11 12:10:24PM
I've been saying Bellator needs to make some changes.
machodog76
11/8/11 1:48:29PM
I really hate the non-title tights with champs, look at Wiuff's situtation he beat the champ and now he might get the chance to fight 3 more times just to get a rematch with a guy he already beat? I love Bellator but that is beyond unfair.
Budgellism
11/8/11 3:48:44PM

Posted by machodog76

I really hate the non-title tights with champs, look at Wiuff's situtation he beat the champ and now he might get the chance to fight 3 more times just to get a rematch with a guy he already beat? I love Bellator but that is beyond unfair.



Essentially this. It's good to know Bellator is realizing this though and hopefully they make the appropriate changes.
cowcatcher
11/8/11 4:06:39PM

Posted by Budgellism


Posted by machodog76

I really hate the non-title tights with champs, look at Wiuff's situtation he beat the champ and now he might get the chance to fight 3 more times just to get a rematch with a guy he already beat? I love Bellator but that is beyond unfair.



Essentially this. It's good to know Bellator is realizing this though and hopefully they make the appropriate changes.



Yep. It was clear that it would take a champion losing for them to see that these non-title matches weren't going to work awhile ago. The easiest option for the promotion is to shelf the champs for long periods of time until tourneys are won, but that probably won't work for most of the fighters because these guys don't want to take only 1 or 2 fights a year in most cases. I'm interested to see what happens here.
FlashyG
11/8/11 5:27:37PM
I've said it in another thread but I really don't like Bellator's format at all.

Its good for them, they have created a system that prevents their talent from migrating to the UFC, but if you like me hope that one day all the best are under one banner Bellator will need to be a casualty along the way. (or the UFC would, but thats much less likely)

As a fighter looking to get into or back into the UFC, its the last place you should be looking despite it emerging as the #2 MMA org in the world. You can never get out without looking worse than when you went in.
ghandikush
11/8/11 9:36:14PM
I think you are forgetting that Warren is champ at a different weight.

Also, I think about title defenses this way, imagine a guy like Alvarez having 10 defenses against only 2 olid threats vs having only title defenses against guys who are good.
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