Future Fights To Headline Bellator Pay-Per-Views
On June 24, Bellator will venture their way to Madison Square Garden and back to PPV. Needing a historical card to match UFC 205 last November, Scott Coker has decided to headline the event with Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva and Fedor vs. Matt Mitrione.
He’ll be ridiculed for attempting a PPV with four guys who are way past their prime, but who should he headline with? You think people are going to pay to see Patricky Freire headline a PPV? Of course not. Headlining the event with three of the biggest MMA stars ever and Fedor Emelianenko is the correct call. Coker has a pretty good track record here. He knows that you headline with the car crash stuff that everyone pays to see, and you put the guys you want to build on the undercard.
If Bellator is going to continue to run on pay-per-view, they’re going to need pay-per-view quality main events. And PPV quality main events aren’t necessarily good fights that make sense. They are fights that you want to see. Fabricio Werdum vs. Stipe Miocic was a good fight that made sense. No one cared. Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping isn’t a good fight that makes sense. But you’re going to watch it.
With that in mind, here are some fights that Bellator should consider headlining future pay-per-views with.
Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz 3
Tito claims to be retired following his victory over Chael Sonnen, but no MMA fighter is truly retired. If Ortiz is offered this fight against Liddell, he’ll take it in a heartbeat. He wants a win over Liddell so bad that he’d probably vacate all of his other wins just to have it. Liddell is 47-years-old, but Dan Henderson just fought for a world title at 46, so why couldn’t Liddell fight Ortiz at 47?
The only reason this fight wouldn’t happen is because Liddell wouldn’t want to give Ortiz the satisfaction. He already holds two victories over him, why give him one last chance to give you a concussion? But Chuck is a prideful guy and may think that he can beat Ortiz until the day he dies. Having recently been let go from his fake front office job, Liddell has some extra free time now to train and get that look back in his eyes.
Liddell vs. Ortiz 2 was the first UFC event ever to crack one million buys. If it does half of that over 10 years later, that’s still a huge success for Bellator.
Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie 2
Like Liddell, Hughes was let go from doing nothing and is now itching to return. Hughes is only 43, which means he has at least five years left of fighting. He wants to fight Royce Gracie, who is 50, but has a more recent victory than Hughes.
Hughes vs. Gracie was a mismatch in 2006, but still did 620,000 pay-per-view buys. In 2017, when it would be more competitive due to the advanced age of both men, I would imagine that the buyrate would double. However, this fight should only take place under UFC 1 rules. I think it’s only fair that if you fought at UFC 1 and you’re still fighting to this day, all of your fights take place under UFC 1 rules.
Dan Henderson vs. Quinton Jackson 2
Like Ortiz, Henderson claims to be retired. And, like Ortiz, he’ll come out of retirement if the fight is right. ‘Rampage’ Jackson is the right fight for Henderson. Their first fight is one of the more underrated fights in history and it would give Henderson a chance to avenge his unification title loss.
Jackson fights at the end of the month in a rematch against ‘King Mo’ Lawal. A win would set up an even bigger rematch against Henderson. At the time, their first fight drew the biggest MMA rating of all-time despite being on tape delay. Just imagine how well it would do live on pay-per-view.
Jeff Monson vs. Kazuyuki Fujita 2
Did you know that this was the last PRIDE fight ever? You want PRIDE to never die? Remind fans of why it did.
Mirko Filipovic vs. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture
MMA needs to evolve and Bellator should be at the forefront of that evolution. The first thing they can do is hold the first ever major triple threat fight. And why not do it with the two best heavyweights of all-time and Fedor Emelianenko?
For years MMA fans have wanted ‘Cro Cop’ vs. Fedor 2, Couture vs. Fedor, and ‘Cro Cop’ vs. Couture. Instead of potentially risking the health of each man twice, Bellator should risk the health of each man once in an effort to pull off the greatest and most unique MMA fight of all-time. This fight would draw on novelty alone. Conor McGregor’s pay-per-view record would be in some trouble if Coker were able to pull this off.
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