Before this year started, Bellator was considered an upstart contender trying to squeeze in between the UFC and Strikeforce. By the time it ends it will be the only American competition the UFC has.
Bellator had a stroke of luck this year when the UFC shockingly bought Strikeforce and essentially wiped out their other competitor. This left Bellator as the second and only option for fighters who wanted to remain on TV.
Then Spike TV finally had their contract with the UFC run out and started televising fights on their website from Bellator events that don't make it onto MTV2.
All in all the company might have found a niche as the second best mixed martial arts organization when all is said and done.
However, they will never challenge the UFC the way Strikeforce could.