On January 17, Bellator Fighting Championships makes the move to Spike TV. Their first event, Bellator 85, the main event features a lightweight championship battle between Michael Chandler and Rick Hawn.
Despite Chandler having the pressure of being the champion in this important contest, it is Hawn who ultimately sits on the hot seat in January.
Hawn represented the United States in judo at the 2004 Olympic games, where he placed ninth. He then transitioned into mixed martial arts and quietly won his first 11 fights as a pro. So far, the only loss on his career came via controversial split decision against Jay Hieron in the Bellator Season 4 welterweight final.
Unfortunately, the record book doesn't indicate whether or not the judges made a mistake. It simply records a loss for Hawn and shows that he came up short in a high-profile fight.
Since that time, the judoka cut down to lightweight and has looked stellar. Winning the Season 6 lightweight tournament, Hawn moves into another high-profile fight that he simply can't afford to lose. If so, he develops a stigma of becoming a gatekeeper who is capable of coming close, but not getting the job done.
It's a task that is easier said than done, as Hawn's opponent is undefeated champion Michael Chandler, who has looked equally stellar in his Bellator career.