Is Dana Right About Bellator?

The other day in an interview with “MMA Junkie” and on the topic of Bellator, UFC President Dana White was rather dismissive of the promotion, their new business partners Viacom / SPIKE and the products that they produce, which are namely “Bellator MMA” and a new reality show called, “Fight Master”.

Dana said of “SBV”, that they had a “me too” attitude and approach to the sport and were Johnny-come-latelies in promoting it. As such, they are in the business for the love of money and not the love of MMA and subsequently, will never be as good as the UFC at promoting it.  

White’s opinions of the multi-billion dollar corporation and their move into the sport of MMA proved to be even more cavalier when White stated, matter-of-factly, that his competition was the NFL and the other big 3 sports, not Bellator. That SBV as an MMA entity and promotion were of no real consequence to his business model.

As it stands, that’s all well and true.

However, is it a foregone conclusion that the UFC is destined to have the whole of the MMA pie to itself or is Dana getting ahead of himself, here?

Viacom has a lot of money as well as brains behind it. It is also and easily, the larger of the two corporations. The new promotion brings with it a viable and credible brand (Bellator), presents it on TV free and in a simple round-robin format. Also, their opposite number to Dana White, Bjorn Rebney, is a bright, articulate, soft-spoken, professional business man with a passion for MMA.

As well, the collective has the added benefit of being able to draw upon the experience and expertise of the production team that first launched TUF; the successful results of which have been borne out in SBV’s new show, Fight Master.  

All-in-all it seems like a pretty good poker hand that White is negating.

So here’s the question, what cards can SBV play given that it’s not that weak?

One card they could play would be to raise their purses on (both) their Bellator MMA and Fight Master events. Although 100k is a lot of money, it’s not “jump” money. I think if SBV raised the purses on both of their shows to half-a-million dollars that many of the UFCs best fighters, ones who are not making that kind of cash in the senior promotion, would leave and sign with SBV.

On the issue of money as a motivator, lest we forget that Jon Fitch averaged (roughly) 180K a year over 8 years and made (roughly) 1.3 million with the UFC, in doing so.

In light of those numbers and what else we know about fighter compensation in the UFC, my guess would be that a significant number of their roster would be interested in taking a shot at the SBV lotteries.

If SBV could woe enough of the UFC’s ranked fighters away from the promotion, then Dana would need to be worrying more about SBV than demonstrating to the big 4 that MMA has arrived and at their level.    

What are your thoughts? Is Dana rolling out the victory cake too soon or do you think that the UFC has nothing to worry about regarding SBV?

 


10 Comments

  1. Profile photo of enjoylife321

    enjoylife321

    June 25, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    @Brian….first of all, money talks….and its the fastest way to get fighters to sign…Bellator can use some muscle there for sure.

    Second of all, of course Dana would be worried when some of the most influential and marketable coaches are now aligned with Bellator. It is coaches like Greg jackson and Randy Couture who hold all the talent in their gyms that organizations like the UFC need.

    Dana tried to damage greg jacksons reputation and it was all over his advice to his fighters in winning fights and not accepting fights on short notice.

    Getting back to reality TV, the more shows on tv of a similar nature the less viewership…..UFC would have loved to have reality fighting show all to themselves. bellator are definetly chipping away.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      June 25, 2013 at 10:48 pm

      I agree with as always. lol.

      Personally, I think the UFC is underestimating what Bellator might pull off with some serious purse offers.

      Of course the reality is, that the UFC could stem the tide, however, it would cost them money to do so. Even then, where SBV would only have to put up half-a-million a show, the UFC on the other hand, would have to spend considerably more to keep "each" fighter they didn't want leaving happy.

      Where none of this would ever apply to guy like Silva, GSP or Jones..any of the big money makers, it could easily **** the bottom out of those fighters not making the great money…and of course, those would be ranked fighters.

      Ben Henderson, I don't think he's making that kind of coin and I know T.J. Grant isn't. Rory MacDonald? The Diaz brothers? I could see lots of big names jumping ship for a two shots at 500K.

      • Profile photo of enjoylife321

        enjoylife321

        June 26, 2013 at 1:48 am

        @Brian.

        If it wasn't for contracts locking guys up, we would probably see alot more fluidity especially if big money was offered. The bellator fightmaster is a great way to beat UFC to the punch.

        If the UFC however sees any talent in fightmaster they will be the first to try to snag them I imagine.

        • Profile photo of Brian Cox

          Brian Cox

          June 26, 2013 at 11:15 pm

          I agree with both points. The winner of this game is going to be the one that pays the fighters the most.

          I think this is one of those problems, where throwing money at it would actually work.

          Again, money might not be the answer in the case of fighters like Anderson or GSP, but for those guys coming up…the next Silvas' and GSPs'…the next Jones and Aldo…enough money applied on the way up, could easily dry up the UFC's talent pool.

          It would take time and they'd have to be able to hold onto their accrued talent, but I could see how you could end-up with two competing promotions who, at some later date, could claim to have the best fighters.

          I do not believe, that the UFC has yet cemented itself the way the "big 4" have. There is no Bellator version of the NFL, for example.

          Money talks and all the rest of it.

      • Profile photo of Endo

        Endo

        June 26, 2013 at 1:29 pm

        How big is the sun?

  2. Profile photo of HolyGrimace666

    HolyGrimace666

    June 26, 2013 at 12:55 am

    i think Dana is right, i think Viacom wants MMA just for money purposes. i know Dana has done a lot of bad things to MMA(namely killing pride) but regardless he has put together a lot of fights fans wanted to see.

  3. Profile photo of Entity

    Entity

    June 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Ok, I DID see this one coming 8))

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