A couple of weeks ago, the World Series of Fighting challenged Bellator MMA to a promotion versus promotion event. The entire card would feature bouts with a fighter from the WSOF taking on a fighter from Bellator. This concept sounds pretty cool and fun, sure. However, at the end of the day, it is a bad idea, especially for Bellator.

In the time since Strikeforce was bought and folded into the UFC, CEO Bjorn Rebney’s Bellator organization has emerged as the clear No. 2 promotion in the world. Perhaps that’s in part because the promotion worked hard to establish that status for itself, but it’s also partly due to a lack of other promotions out there vying for the distinction. There were other promotions out there, but nobody else with the roster, television deal or overall popularity that the Bellator brand had produced.

In all reality, this recent challenge issued by the World Series of Fighting is akin to a little brother trying to keep pace with his big brother while shooting hoops in the driveway. Little brother always wants to do what he can to beat big brother, and he always feels a major sense of accomplishment when he emerges victorious. Trust me on that one—there was nothing I wanted more when I was younger than to beat my own brother, who is three years older than me. If I beat him in anything, I would be overjoyed. But the reality of it is that big brother would win nine times out of 10. Just because I would beat him every so often didn’t necessarily mean that I was better than him, especially when I would normally try to stack the deck and pick something I was good at to try to gain an advantage.

That—stacking the deck—is exactly what the WSOF did when it challenged Bellator in head-to-head competition. WSOF matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz came out and proposed a top to bottom fight card. However, if the two promotions are really going to create a big crossover event card, then the Bellator and WSOF matchmakers need to sit across the table from each other and hash it out together.

Although there are a couple of fights that have been proposed that appear to favor Bellator, that is all just posturing and jockeying to simply get the rival promotion to the table. For anyone in their right mind to agree to what they feel is a bad match-up for their fighter is preposterous.

The entire matchmaking process would be extremely difficult, in fact. Don’t forget that the promotions would also have to factor in matchmaking for their other existing events. Look at it from the Bellator perspective. The promotion is very unique in that it is the only major promotion that puts on a fight card each week throughout its season. In its most recent season, Bellator put on 12 cards spanning from early September to late December. On the other hand, the WSOF has put on 10 total fight cards, ever. Removing the proposed Bellator fighters as available options for Bellator’s own events would be detrimental to the promotion’s entire season, whereas the similar prospect of WSOF devoting its fighters to the challenge would result in an impact to one or, at most, two cards in the still developing league. To state that in a different way, withholding Quinton “Rampage” Jackson or another big fighter without a championship, like David Rickels, from an entire season hurts Bellator more than withholding Tyrone Spong for just one fight hampers the WSOF.

Another harsh reality with a card like this is what to do when the unavoidable training injury takes place. This is a problem that all promotions have to struggle through. It is one thing when a promotion has to look within its own to replace a fighter for an upcoming fight, but consider what would happen when a promotion has to look across the street and again negotiate an opponent for its guy. It would cause a major roadblock and headache for everyone involved.

The World Series of Fighting has done a solid job in creating a name and market for itself, but the promotion is still so young. Its first card was held in November 2012. To put that into perspective: A day prior to WSOF 1, Bellator held its 79th card. Sure, quality trumps quantity, and in the years to come WSOF could make a big splash and surpass Bellator.

But in all reality, when Abdel-Aziz laid down the gauntlet, it was like a younger brother trying to challenge his older brother in the backyard. The philosophy here for the World Series of Fighting is that it has everything to gain and nothing to lose. The same cannot be said for Rebney’s promotion, which is why there is no way in the world that Bellator should even consider an offer like this.

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.

  • Hawkeye

    I agree they shouldn’t. Not because of your lame reasons, but because because Bellator just simply couldn’t compete. Big brother little brother, who gives a shit. WSOF is closing any gap and Bellator will be left int the dust. Candyass!