With Strikeforce’s future hanging in the balance it may not be too much longer before Bellator Fighting Championships becomes the UFC’s biggest competitor, but as things stand Dana White insists that he’s got no axe to grind with the promotion who currently air live events weekly on MTV2.
“I’ve went after the promotions that come after me,” White told MMAWeekly last week. “When you come out and you talk a bunch of sh!t, talk about our company and how we’re doing business, and how you’re gonna take us down and you’re gonna beat us – now you’ve picked a fight. And now we’re gonna fight until somebody wins and somebody loses.”
“The people from Bellator have never said anything about us. I have nothing to say about them either. They’re out there. They’re doing their thing. Good for them.”
It’ll be interesting to see if this continues to be the case in the future. Right now Bellator are believed to have been targeted by Spike TV as the company to replace the UFC when they move to FOX at the turn of the year.
They recently reached an arrangement that sees Bellator’s prelims stream live on their website and while it may be 2013 before they can start airing their events live on the network due to their contractual obligations to the UFC, it’s rumored to be almost certain to happen.
Spike have shown during their long relationship with the UFC that they can do a good job with the sport and so they could expand Bellator’s profile significantly should the move take place, and that could put them on White’s radar more than they are presently.
Let’s not forget that it wasn’t that you only have to look back to 2009 to see White saying that he had “no beef” with Strikeforce and didn’t “see them as a competitor,” yet he eventually did come to recognise them as a threat after they began to compete for major fighters signatures and increase their TV ratings, leading him to buy them over.
Right now there’s rumors that the UFC is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission regarding whether their purchase of Strikeforce has lead to the sport becoming a monopoly.
With that in mind it’s unlikely that Zuffa will be breaking out their cheque book to purchase bellator any time soon, but if they are able to grow their market share in the next year or two then I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see White slinging some mud in their direction.