Bellator’s middleweight champion Hector Lombard is as good as gone.

The UFC recently offered Lombard a contract, and while Bellator has the right to match the Zuffa offer, there’s no way the promotion can compete with the UFC in that department.

Lombard, of course, is one of Bellator’s biggest names and is on a 20-fight win streak in his MMA career. The guy is a finisher, and he’s one of the most exciting fighters in the sport today.

But he hasn’t fought in Bellator since November, and now with the UFC knocking on his door, it’s likely that his days on MTV2 are numbered.  This brings up the question of whether or not Bellator should even have traditional champions.

Bellator’s bread and butter is the tournament format. It’s something that the UFC doesn’t do, and it creates stars. But with Bellator’s tournament taking months to finish, the promotion’s reigning champions have to wait an excessive length of time in between title fights most of the time.

Bellator isn’t on the same level as the UFC, so these guys aren’t making the same kind of cash that the fighters in the UFC make. That in itself is a good enough reason to jump ship.

I understand that Bellator wants to have champions to validate their weight classes and bring credibility to the company, but why do it if your champion has to stay on the shelf more often?

Instead, why not include them in the tournaments, and give fans more reason to get excited about the tournaments. I don’t care who you are or what you like, fans generally gravitate toward tournaments, and if you include the reigning champion in the tournament, that’s going to market itself.

Then comes the question about fighters’ difficulty in defending their championship, and the simple answer to that is that if you want to receive the same amount of respect as the UFC, you have to do something different to get people’s attention.

What better way than to win a tournament and defend your championship status in another tournament? That’s validity that no one can ignore.

See, there is a bright side for not having traditional champions and coming up with something different, such as tournament champions. It could be the edge that Bellator needs to expand its company and one day compete with the largest MMA franchise in the world.

Photo: Hector Lombard (black and white trunks) finishes off Trevor Prangley at Bellator 58 (William Musacchia/Sherdog)

About The Author

Jake Martin

Jake attends Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., where he studies Mass Communication in print and public relations. He is also the sports editor of his school newspaper, The Nicholls Worth. Jake works at the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday, La. during the summer.