Bellator 123: The Real Winners and Losers
Bellator 123 marked the return of the organization to Spike TV under the Scott Coker regime. The show had some ups and it certainly had some downs.
The main event saw a title change in the featherweight division in what could have been the Fight of the Night. Not only was it the fight of the night in Bellator but of the entire MMA evening which included the UFC.
This big event had some good and some bad. Who were the winners and who were the losers?
Let's take a look right now.
Winner: The Barn Cat
It has been five years since we have seen Tamdan McCrory. He didn't take long in the cage to remind fans who he was.
Fighting a former Bellator tournament winner in Brennan Ward, McCrory didn't give him a chance to get out of the blocks. Instead, he landed a brutal, multi-punch combination that had Ward crumple to the mat in utter unconsciousness.
Not only that, but McCrory walked away with sportsmanship. He knew Ward was out cold and he made sure he didn't suffer any unnecessary damage, as the ref wasn't in the best position to stop the bout.
That win gives McCrory a lot to go on. He is now a guy Bellator can put consistently on cards and use this brutal knockout as an example of what he can do in the cage.
Loser: Scott Coker
Fans expected Bellator to change a bit with Scott Coker's takeover of the company.
Keep waiting, people, it's gonna keep being nutty.
Fans remember Coker as a high-integrity man that correctly promoted fights. He has the reputation as one of the most respected men in MMA.
However, in what is likely a call by parent company Viacom, Coker hosted an in-cage segment to announce Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar.
What followed was something out of the pro wrestling handbook.
Bonnar cut a promo, revealed Justin McCully as a former Ortiz friend scorned, Ortiz responded and a very shady in-cage brawl ensued. It looked quite fake and really was a negative that overshadowed many other good things on the night.
All of it proves that even with Coker, things in Bellator are likely to stay the same. That's what it reflects bad on him.
Winner: Bellator on Social Media
Despite the horrid in-cage segment between Ortiz and Bonnar, and the overshadowing it did temporarily on the main event, it had the Twitter world buzzing. Sure, it was both negative and positive but any press is good press, right?
No matter what your feelings are on that segment, it had you talking. That proves to add intrigue to the impending Bellator event that Bonnar and Ortiz will headline.
Viacom and Bellator are all about the TV ratings and this publicity could lead to increased viewership.
Loser: Will Brooks and Michael Chandler
The same event that hosts Tito Ortiz-Stephan Bonnar also hosts a Lightweight Championship bout. Oh, but it's in the co-main event.
That's right, Will Brooks and Michael Chandler will vie for a 155-pound title in Bellator and take a co-main event spot under two men past their primes. Think about that.
Two men who are likely never to be in title contention again are headlining a card over two men fighting to win championship gold in the same promotion. It's like a cruel joke to two men that are likely among the top 15 lightweights in the world.
I am sure they are just happy to be fighting for the title, but there is no reason a title fight shouldn't take precedent over a novelty fight.
Winner: Patricio Freire
It took a long time, but Patricio Freire is finally the Bellator champion.
In an amazing, back-and-forth slugfest that featured two of the toughest featherweights in the world, Freire was able to outgun Pat Curran in their rematch for Curran's title. It was Freire's power and aggression that was able to earn him the scorecards and the title, making his Friday night a profitable one.
Curran fought valiantly, too, enough to likely warrant an immediate rematch. Seeing how competitive and good their outings have been, don't be surprised if the rubber match gets high publicity and demand from Bellator, who can promote the hell out of it.