This coming Friday night’s Bellator 130 show will mark their final foray into doing weekly shows before they switch to a new format on Spike TV in 2015.
In a new interview on MMAfighting.com, Bellator CEO Scott Coker, who took over from Bjorn Rebney back in June, unveiled the new gameplan they have lined up as he looks to put his own stamp on the promotion and take it to the next level.
Essentially the focus will be on quality rather than quantity with just one event per month on a Friday night on Spike. In addition there will also be four bigger, more heavily promoted events spaced throughout the year that will also feature on Spike TV, but air on a Saturday night.
“If we have a show every week, sometimes you have to get fighters to fill the card because there’s nobody left,” Coker explained to MMAfighting. “That’s what you’re not going to be seeing next year. You’ll see big fights that people will want to see, starting in January.”
If you want an idea of what to expect from the ‘bigger’ Saturday night shows then look no further than Bellator 131 Bonnar on November 15th which Coker says is essentially a trial run for the format.
The event features a heavily publicized fight between former UFC stars Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar in the co-main event, while a lightweight title fight between Will Brooks and Michael Chandler fills the co-main event berth, ‘King Mo’ Lawal faces Tom De Blass and Melvin Manhoef squares off against Joe Schilling.
In a way it’s Bellator’s equivalent of a ‘UFC On FOX’ event, with their monthly Friday night shows being more akin to a ‘Fight Night’ style show.
Bellator won’t be doing any PPV’s though, at least for the time being, and they will be doing far less shows than the UFC overall (16 compared to well over 50), so that means the monthly events should be meaningful too and will feature regular title fights.
It feels like the right way to go for Bellator. Weekly shows are very difficult to pull off, particularly when you don’t have the deep talent pool that the UFC has at their disposal, and it’s only more challenging with the market being so saturated at the moment.
The tournament format was also something of an albatross around the promotion’s neck and only made Bellator more difficult to follow for the casual fan who wasn’t tuning in every week, so leaving that behind and placing more of an emphasis on ‘feature fights’ should give the promotion a boost too.