Advice for Bellator: Don't Throw All of Your Eggs into One Basket

Sterling SpiarsAnalyst IApril 30, 2010

Taking place in Kansas City, Missouri, Bellator 16 featured all four of the middleweight quarterfinal matchups—eight competitors fighting to see who will move one step closer to challenging Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard for the gold.

After a couple of quick finishes, as well as the fight where Alexander Shlemenko set a world record for the most spinning back fists and kicks in a fight, the Bellator crew was down to one fight left with nearly an hour to kill in the broadcast.

Naturally, they decided to look forward. Cue in advertisements for Bellator 17 set to take place on May 6 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Bellator 17 will be headlined by Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in a non-title, catch-weight bout against former UFC fighter Josh Neer.

The card will also showcase the lightweight semifinals, featuring Toby Imada against Carey Varnier, as well as Bellator's blockbuster acquisition Roger Huerta fighting against the stocky striker Pat Curran.

Just like many people, the Bellator announcers Sean Wheelock and Jimmy Smith couldn't help but speculate on the possible future fight between Roger Huerta and Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight championship.

Jimmy Smith was quick to bring the pair down back to Earth, realizing that Huerta still has to win two more fights before that potential super fight takes place, but still, it's hard not to speculate on how great that fight could be, as a fan that is.

With no affiliations to MMA organizations, it's okay for fans to speculate on possible fights down the road, or possible outcomes of the business, but as a professional involved in the business, not so much.

Remember Strikeforce's last showing on CBS?

For weeks leading up to the event, CBS aired a number of commercials to help hype the Strikeforce middleweight championship fight between Jake Shields and Dan Henderson.

Henderson, who is Strikeforce's most recent high-profile acquisition, was the primary focus of all of the Strikeforce-on-CBS commercials. In fact, Shields, who is the current Strikeforce champion, was hardly shown at all.

Puzzling to say the least.

Strikeforce effectively placed all of their eggs into one basket with Henderson in anticipation of Shields' possible departure from the promotion.

The end result was catastrophic, well, that's if you're Strikeforce president Scott Coker.

After focusing heavily on Henderson in the pre-fight hype, Coker was virtually slapped in the face as Shields survived an early Henderson onslaught to easily control four rounds and win the championship fight by decision.

Shields happily stomped the eggs in the basket into a mother hen's worst nightmare; a puddle of a half-mixed batch of scrambled eggs and shattered shells.

If all of the MMA gurus are correct in their assumptions, Shields will throw in another slap to the face of Coker as he walks away from Strikeforce as a champion, right into the open arms of UFC president Dana White.

Maybe if half of the eggs were in the basket of Shields before his fight with Henderson, then the playing field in the free agent waters would be a bit more leveled.

Not to say that the same type of scenario will happen with Bellator, but it's possible.

Bellator officials might once again start hyping the potential fight between Huerta and Alvarez before it's even official. It might happen at Bellator 17 as both fighters are set to appear on the card.

It's highly plausible that Pat Curran comes in and wrecks shop against Roger Huerta. There's no doubt that Huerta is the favorite to win, but this is MMA, a sport where anything is possible.

On any given night, any given fighter can win.

So while it's smart to hype up your star fighters, don't forget about the little guys as well. Because it's those less-recognizable fighters that cause upsets, and sometimes go on to be a star themselves.

In a world where people are as sensitive as sugar-rotted teeth sucking down ice cream on the North Pole, a fighter being overlooked heading into a fight against a star may send them searching for work elsewhere, regardless of a win, loss or draw.