When you think of a “call out” in the world of mixed martial arts, what usually comes to mind is one fighter calling another one out in hopes of getting a fight against that particular opponent. On Monday afternoon, World Series of Fighting forever changed the MMA call out. The matchmaker and executive vice president of WSOF, Ali Abdel-Aziz, proposed a fight card entirely featuring WSOF fighters against Bellator fighters in what he called a “winner take all” event. What the winner would actually get to take is unknown, but with the card already mapped out, it gives fight fans an event and proposed match-ups to talk about.

Abdel-Aziz said that he put this challenge together because he feels like WSOF is the clear No. 2 MMA promotion in the world, when many refer to Bellator as such. He put this proposed card together as a way to prove which organization has the better fighters. Well, there are some interesting fights to say the least.

WSOF put together a very evenly matched fight card and one with no clear winner on paper. There are some match-ups where it does seem like WSOF does have the upper hand, such as the bouts featuring Jon Fitch against Rick Hawn and Marlon Moraes against Eduardo Dantas. Bellator also has some fights that look very winnable. Rising star Vitaly Minakov against aging veteran Andrei Arlovski is one such pairing, and regardless of how impressive Justin Gaethje has looked, he would still be the underdog against either Michael Chandler or Eddie Alvarez. Beyond those match-ups, though, many of the fights are very intriguing and could go either way, such as Rousimar Palhares against Douglas Lima and the “super fight” main event between Tyrone Spong and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

A very interesting tidbit about the whole situation is that if you look up and down the card, Abdel-Aziz’s claim that WSOF is a clear No. 2 to the UFC isn’t that far-fetched. The fight card is fairly even when it comes to talent, but other than the Rampage and Chandler fights, the bigger name fighter in each contest is on the World Series of Fighting’s side card. Now, the bigger names don’t always correlate into the better fighters, but when push comes to shove, I think that WSOF would win six out of the 10 fights on the card. The recognizable names also lend to Abdel-Aziz’s claim that WSOF is the No. 2 promotion.

Bellator still hasn’t responded to the challenge as of Thursday evening. Abdel-Aziz previously stated that he would make an announcement regarding the situation at the close of the World Series of Fighting 8 conference call, but he did not make the statement and later said on Twitter that something had changed. Regardless of whether this card ends up happening, it certainly has people talking, particularly about the World Series of Fighting.

The media and fan support for this whole situation has been staggering. The previously mentioned conference call on Thursday lasted nearly 90 minutes, with many of the questions devoted to the Bellator challenge and even more towards Abdel-Aziz, who is slowly but surely overtaking Ray Sefo when it comes to being the figurehead and face of that promotion. All other promotions should take a serious lesson from Abdel-Aziz. This stuff gets people talking.

The fight card itself is bigger than any card that either promotion could put up on its own. It would get both of these promotions huge publicity, and the card would probably good numbers on pay-per-view. Promotions that aren’t the UFC need to put their egos aside and work together on more ideas like this. It is fresh in terms of competition. Plus, rivalry is always fun.

Many fans don’t like to compare MMA to professional wrestling, but the best analogy to this situation can be made from that world. The WWE is clearly the premier promotion in that world, just like the UFC is in MMA. Smaller organizations like TNA and Ring of Honor aren’t even considered competition to the WWE, just like Bellator and WSOF aren’t really considered competitors to the UFC. But if Ring of Honor and TNA co-promoted to put on a huge pay-per-view event, it would likely draw the biggest numbers that either of those promotions had ever seen. In either situation, it gives fans fresh match-ups that fans never thought that they would see. You would think that there would be more problems when it came to putting on a wrestling card like that, because of the push and pull of which company would ultimately go over the other in the predetermined outcomes of the bouts. You don’t have that problem in MMA. The best fighters would truly win, yet it feels like a wrestling show like that is a lot more likely than us ever seeing this challenge card between WSOF and Bellator.

The moral of this story is that this card should happen. It probably won’t, but it should. It would be great for the sport, the fans and both promotions. Unless one promotion won nearly every single fight, neither promotion would be hurt or look worse than the other. More viewers would likely tune into both after this happened. Ali Abdel-Aziz and World Series of Fighting should be applauded for their ambition. A promotion that is just over a year old is becoming one of the premier fighting companies out there and will even have two cards featured on network television this year. The saying that any publicity is good publicity isn’t always true, but because of this challenge, people who weren’t giving WSOF coverage are now paying attention, and I think it leads to the promotion’s biggest ratings yet with its fight card in little over a week.

The ball is now in your court, Bjorn Rebney.

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.