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Bellator Enters The Pay-Per-View Spectrum

FIGHT WEEKEND PREVIEWSaturday, June 24thBellator MMA: NYCWhen former Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney was ousted from his throne by incumbent purchasing mega corporation Viacom, they inserted new blood into Bellator's DNA.

FIGHT WEEKEND PREVIEW

Saturday, June 24th

Bellator MMA: NYC

When former Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney was ousted from his throne by incumbent purchasing mega corporation Viacom, they inserted new blood into Bellator’s DNA. That new blood was Scott Coker, the kickboxing turned MMA creator of Strikeforce. After eliminating the all-tournament focus of Bellator and bringing his matchmakers and administration from his former organization, a new Bellator has emerged.


Part of this new overhaul included taking advantage of fighter free agency and signing former UFC standouts while building Bellator groomed fighters. The time has come now for Bellator to enter the pay-per-view spectrum and truly become the number two promotion in relation to its top U.S. competitor, the UFC. 


To start, the fight takes place in the “Mecca of Boxing” Madison Square Garden, which is a feat for any combat sport to do.     

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There are a bevy of championship fights, mostly featuring guys that all made their name in the UFC and are either too old or have too many losses to remain there. The headlining matchup is between the UFC’s former loudest mouth in the room, Chael Sonnen (28-15), against MMA legend Wanderlei Silva (35-12). The former Brazilian Top Team star, who’s last fight was a retirement win over UFC commentator Brian Stann, returns looking to shut the mouth of Sonnen. “The Gangster From West Linn” looked horrible in his Bellator debut in January when he lost via rear naked choke to Tito Ortiz. The fight had a much bigger buzz than this matchup due to both of men’s larger than life personalities.     


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Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emeilianenko (34-4) makes his return to competition after a year off and debuts at Bellator NYC. His opponent is former football player turned fighter Matt Mitrione (11-5), who had two successful appearances in Bellator since leaving the UFC last year. This heavyweight matchup is intriguing but lacks the buzz you would expect from a heavyweight bout. Partially, because Fedor’s legacy has diminished a bit after a controversial majority decision win over Fabio Maldonando in St. Petersburg, Russia. Emeilianenko is Russian and a huge celebrity.   


Rounding out the card are three title fights each that look good on paper. Phil “Mr. Wonderful” (17-3) Davis defends his light heavyweight title against Ryan Bader (22-5), who is making his Bellator debut. Both Bader and Davis excelled in the UFC, but were never able to capture the title. 

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With Davis now a champion and Bader still on the hunt, this should be a great matchup.

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Under the radar welterweight champion Douglas Lima faces former UFC star Lorenz Larkin in what should be a fight-of-the-night style matchup. Larkin was known for his flashy striking style and swift heavy hands in both Strikeforce and the UFC. He now looks to dethrone Lima, who won his belt back last November.

Bellator lightweight champion, Michael Chandler (16-3) looks to extend is current four-fight win streak when he faces Brent Primus (7-0). Chandler has been the face of Bellator for most of his career and this exposure on pay-per-view is a chance to take his career to the next level. Bellator is hoping that the consistency of Chandler will deliver the views they need for a sound pay-per-view debut. 



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Lastly, Heather Hardy (0-0 MMA) makes her MMA debut against Alice Yauger (4-5). The boxing champion, like many women boxers, sees the greener pastures of MMA, where women’s competition has reached a larger audience lately.

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This will be a big stage for Bellator. In the race to be at the top the MMA game, pay-per-view matters. Catch all the action live on Spike TV at 8pm EST / 5pm PST and then on pay-per-view at 10pm EST / 7pm PST.     

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the
PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider’s take featuring the world’s biggest names.