Former UFC star Roger Huerta was considered to be the poster-boy for Bellator Fighting Championships second season, but after a lackluster performance in his semi-final clash tonight with the younger, less-experienced Pat Curran, Huerta finds himself out of the tournament.
The fighters decision to sign for Bellator’s lightweight tournament had surprised some, with more established promotions such as Strikeforce and DREAM believed to have been interested in obtaining his services. His wage demands were believed to be prohibitively high though and Bellator took a bold step by stepping in to secure him for their lightweight tournament.
The move certainly turned some heads and gained the promotion additional publicity and credibility, but for it to truly be worth the initial outlay the blueprint would have been for Huerta to win the tournament, and go on to fight current champion Eddie Alvarez in a ‘superfight’ that would likely have generated considerable interest from fans.
At the beginning of the season that seemed like a realistic goal with Huerta being installed as the tournament favorite, but his unanimous decision loss tonight puts paid to Bellator’s plans for the fighter prematurely.
It’s far from an ideal situation for Huerta as well. After initially signing the deal Huerta’s manager had admitted that his clients move to Bellator was ‘risky’, since a loss to one of the promotions lesser known names could devalue his worth.
Unfortunately for them that scenario has now become a reality, and with his loss tonight he’s now won just one of his last four fights, a major dip in form after having lost only once in his previous 23 career bouts.
On reflection both Bellator and Huerta may look at this move as a ‘high risk – high reward’ gamble that ultimately has not paid off.