For months and months, Bellator champions sit and wait for a challenger. It’s a period of time that seems like forever. And in a sport where time is money, the waiting period is all the more excruciating.

When a promotion institutes a seasonal tournament format to determine its title challengers, this is the end result. There really isn’t much to do about it besides giving champions fights with guys who didn’t win the tournament in their weight class, but Bellator doesn’t do that. Unlike its UFC counterpart, Bellator makes fighters earn all title shots in some way, shape or form through the tournament.

It’s trial by fire in Bellator, a huge risk for the fighters the promotion has under contract. Big names have used the tournament as their stomping ground and destroyed their competition. Lately, however, those big-name fighters have fallen by the wayside and been eaten alive by the tournament.

It is the ultimate proving ground, and the champions get the winner in a title fight that was earned like no other. There is one problem with this scenario though: the amount of fights these champions get per year.

Most of the time, they don’t even defend their belt and get one fight a year. They get to go out of their weight class and fight someone in a catchweight fight or stay at their weight class and fight in a non-title fight. People want to see the champions in action. They want to see a belt on the line and an underdog story—or root for a Goliath.

Bellator has long been plagued by inactive champions, but now the answer to the problem could be the institution of a four-man tournament in the summer.

Bellator’s four-man tournament during the promotion’s “Summer Series” could help alleviate the problem of inactive champions. Whereas the promotion has somewhat of a logjam of title challengers waiting in the wings right now, it won’t last forever. Instead of a future schedule where the promotion holds two tournaments per year in each weight class and sees its champion defend just once a year, it could at the very least give the champ a challenger once in the spring season and once in the winter. This would be easy to accomplish by expediting the process of unearthing the next contender through a shortened tournament format.

The four-man tournament also gives the fighters a better chance at making more money in what is probably an easier tournament. Instead of having to go through three tournament rounds,a fighter will only need to go through two opponents and maybe have a little more time in between the first and second fight to relax and train for the next opponent. While this is unfair to those who compete in the eight-man tournament, it is a necessary step to keep champions active and help fighters earn more money through the course of a year.

The eight-man tournament is the ultimate proving ground, but the four-man tournament is no laughing matter. Although fighters have one less fight in the four-man tournament, they are still fighting nonetheless. This is a sport where anything can happen and regardless of whether a fighter has to fight twice or three times, they are still going out and risking a huge amount.

The idea of a four-man tournament in the “Summer Series” is perfect. This part of Bellator’s seasonal cards has always been lacking something, but adding in a tournament gives the “Summer Series” new life. Now there is a great and compelling reason for fans to watch.

Photo: Pat Curran (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.