Finally: Bellator Inching Out of Tournament Handcuffs

Bellator fighter Paul Daley during his Strikeforce days. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE


As a long-time MMA fan, I love tournaments. I wish it was still feasible to have one-night tournaments. I think the fact that Bellator awards title shots to those who win tournaments is great. That being said, I think the fact that Bellator awarded title shots only to people who win tournaments is really stupid. This is because there are two glaring exceptions that this tournament or bust rule has missed: former Bellator champions s and people who beat Bellator champions in non-title “Superfights” within the promotion.

Luckily for us all, Bellator has realized the need for the former exception.

In a “Letter from Bjorn” posted on the Bellator website this morning, the company’s CEO announced the promotion’s new “rematch clause” starting in 2013. While “Letters from Bjorn” sounds like a weird, erotic competitor to “Dear Abby,” this one was actually exciting for MMA fans, as Rebney described:

I am proud to announce that driven by your input; we will implement a championship fight rematch clause as we move into 2013 and our launch on Spike in January. When a fighter’s earned a shot at the world title by winning The Toughest Tournament in Sports and competes in a title fight that knocks fans like us back in our seats (win or lose) delivering an incredible fight, when a rematch is called for, we will deliver it. Championship fights give us some of the greatest moments in MMA. And, re-matches of incredible championship fights will give fans like us more of those electrifying moments, while staying true to the world’s best fighters having had to earn their way to those title shots.

This is great news! Not only will Bellator brass have the ability to grant immediate rematches in the event of a questionable decision or a thrilling five-round war, it will also have an avenue to give former champions rematches when they would otherwise be less than thrilled about having to work their way through another tournament (i.e. Eddie Alvarez). Now, with a wave of Bjorn’s magic rematch wand, a rematch will be set, and a tournament can instead line up the next challenger.

It will be great to see Rebney listen to the fans and put this obvious move into practice in the coming year. It will also be great to see the fights (and Jade Bryce) in high definition on Spike, as opposed to standard-definition MTV2.

Now, all that Bellator has to do is add my second exception to the tournament-winners-only rule: if you beat a Bellator champion in a non-title Bellator “Superfight” you can also get a title shot without a tournament win. Because everyone wanted to see Christian M’Pumbu defend against Travis Wiuff without the need for Wiuff to go through the tournament, right? I know I did!

Topics: Bellator, Paul Daley, Tournaments

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