Tonight, Bellator will be presenting its 61st event live on MTV2. The sixth season is already off to a good start, as seen by Pat Curran's dramatic KTFO of Joe Warren last week. As we head deeper and deeper into season six, the list of reasons to go watch Bellator just continues to grow. So here are my top 5 reasons to watch Bellator.
5. It’s one of the only other options available.
Zuffa dominates the industry. That’s been a true fact since the fall or PRIDE FC. It’s been a true fact as the UFC has battled it out with, and ultimately defeated, the likes of Elite XC, Affliction and yes, even Strikeforce.
Now that Strikeforce solely exists as a subsidiary of Zuffa, Bellator is the only other major MMA promotion currently on television. Aside from a handful of smaller promotions with smaller TV deals, Bellator is the only option left if you want something different. Good thing it’s an excellent option.
4. It’s going to Spike TV in a year, but Bellator isn’t in a holding pattern.
Next year will probably be the biggest year in Bellator’s history, and it will also be Bellator’s best chance to truly get into the mainstream MMA consciousness. But Bellator isn’t playing it safe this season.
Every tournament is loaded with stars, the champions are all set to defend their titles and Bellator even has a video game on the way. In a year that could be booked solely around saving all the best fights for Spike TV, Bellator is putting its best foot forward and ending its run on MTV2 with a bang.
3. The champions continue to prove that they’re top fighters.
I can admit that some of Bellator’s divisions are weaker than others (a lot weaker in some cases), but several of Bellator’s champions have entered into “best in the world” discussion.
There’s a lot of hype around Pat Curran right now, and deservedly so. Eddie Alvarez, now the former champion, was known for years as one of the best lightweights not in the UFC. Hector Lombard is so well respected that it’s recently been rumored that the UFC is interested in signing him.
Simply put: A promotion is built on the shoulder of its champions, and Bellator continues to prove that most of their champions could hang with anyone else in the world, including UFC and Strikeforce fighters.
2. An unknown can go from “who?” to “one of the best in Bellator” in only a few fights.
Maybe you consider this a negative? Me, I love a Cinderella story. I love the idea that I could go into a Bellator tournament not having a clue who one of the participants is, and then by the end of the tournament I’m giving some serious thought to that guy becoming a Bellator champion.
Bellator’s tournament format keeps creating stars, and that’s an invaluable tool for the promotion. And it also results in some stellar fights, which brings me to my next point.
1. The fight quality continues to improve.
Could anything else be No. 1? Ever since Bellator came to MTV2, I have been able to count on one hand the number of events I actually considered bad. It’s true that not every fight is a five-star classic. Some fights are a bit mundane, even boring. There have been entire Bellator events where I haven’t seen an interesting fight.
But the vast majority of the time, Bellator is an amazing promotion to watch. The number of highlight-reel moments they continue to produce is astounding. Bellator is not without its flaws, and I’ll be examining and debating those flaws soon, but the fight quality of Bellator has only continued to get better as the years have gone by.
And I hate to pull the “true fan” card, but this is something I really believe in: if you’re a true MMA fan, the quality of the fights should be the No. 1 deciding factor for whether or not you want to follow a promotion. You want exciting fights and amazing moments, more often than not? Go watch Bellator.
If you’re a Twitter user and want to get in on the discussion and/or offer up your own insight, feel free to use #gowatchbellator in your tweets to help spread the word.
Oliver Saenz, also known as PdW2kX, is a freelance journalist, opinion columnist, hardcore MMA fan, and lifelong video game nerd. For more news, views, previews, and reviews on all things Mixed Martial Arts as well as video games, be sure to visit FightGamesBlog.net.