Bellator sure is paying big money to Matt Mitrione to go to war with a journeyman who could immediately devalue their investment.

Friday night, Bellator MMA announced that “Meathead” would be battling Carl Seumanutafa in June at Bellator Dynamite 2. Seumanutafa (10-6) kicked around Strikeforce Challengers and EliteXC for a while, but never made it anywhere near the top of the heavyweight division. He’s 3-3 in his last six fights dating back to 2012, but two of those wins came over the same man, Javy Ayala, who “Badwater” beat in his lone Bellator fight to date.

That’s not an opponent anyone expected. Given the shallow waters of their heavyweight division, at least a semi-notable name would have made sense. Sure, Kimbo Slice is already booked with James Thompson, but Mitrione is coming off a controversial loss to Travis Browne in the UFC. Dropping him so far down the ranks is puzzling, especially when a name like Cheick Kongo is available. Even Justin Wren would bring about some buzz, being the feelgood story of Bellator’s year and all.

Instead, we have Seumanutafa in a fight literally no one was asking for, except maybe Seumanutafa himself. It’s a classic lose-lose situation for Meathead. Win, and you were very much expected to. Lose, and suddenly everyone questions the big payday, and considers you overvalued. Overrated. There’ll be no Benson Henderson upside to the situation, becuase Seumanutafa  isn’t a reigning champion, or even close to a title shot in the division. What he is, however, is a dangerous fighter capable of pulling off an upset.

It’s a head scratcher, for sure. It’s bad enough that Vitaly Minakov is now two years removed from having defended his Bellator MMA title, and is off fighting in Russia. It’s bad enough that you’ve got King Mo moving up in weight and stalking heavyweights, defeating Kongo in an ugly bout that essentially told fans just how weak the heavyweight ranks are over at Bellator.

Now, you’ve got a guy who could hang in the top fifteen in the UFC, the only heavyweight division that really matters at this point – and you’re wasting him.

Wasting him, at least as far as fighting is concerned. Mitrione looked surprisingly good, and more importantly, sounded surprisingly good, working the mic for Bellator Kickboxing. Whatever Bellator does in the cage with him, and however he performs, at least he seems to have landed himself some security for his post-fighting career. Good for him.

As far as fighting goes, however, well that’s another story. There’s no faulting him for it, but Bellator matchmakers have got to be a little more creative. Names like Joey Beltran (recently announced as moving back to heavyweight) or newly signed Sergei Kharitonov would have made much more sense. Even Vinicius Spartan would have been a decent bout, with Spartan coming off a loss.

Bellator no doubt feels the need to build Mitrione back up. Arguably, however, he’s already ahead of most of their heavyweight division. They’d be better off using him against the top of the division, either allowing him to shine, or building up the best of their ranks.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.