MMA News: With The Addition Of Pro-Wrestlers And Actors, How ‘Real’ Is Bellator’s MMA Brand?

Bellator MMA

Pro-Wrestling has been a popular art form for the last hundred years. Starting originally at carnivals, having such names as former President Abraham Lincoln among the many others who suited up to perform, one would imagine wrestling would always have an audience. Into the 1990s, it was massive due to WWE’s Attitude Era and rivalry with WCW. However, a new avenue of fighting entertainment came along in the form of MMA.

Popularized by its real sport take on the world of fighting, it brought a several versions of martial artists together. Many wondered, could someone with a karate black belt beat a kickboxer? So many questions were raised and it made us all wonder, could we see the best fighters in the world, no matter the style, fight in one special place together all for our entertainment?

Quickly companies like the UFC arose and started to make waves in the MMA scene. Fans were not only big on MMA, but they were passionate about it. MMA began to get popular all over the world more and more. MMA is so big today, the Olympic Committee has considered adding it to the Summer Olympics. The fastest growing sport in the world is quickly becoming one of the best, and most fun to watch events today for all genders and ages. However, with success comes competition. Enter Bellator.

Bellator seemingly arose to our attention when UFC left Spike TV, here in the United States. UFC signed with FOX, which has sort of helped them. Although those FOX ratings wouldn’t paint that picture. Spike needed another MMA source, so Bellator added a lot of what they needed. The issue was, unlike UFC, this brand of MMA was really not much of a brand.

Founded in 2008, the company had been doing alright. However, they were in need of a good TV outlet and Spike TV was a perfect place to end it. The issue is, they still have a long way to go to compete with UFC. Viacom now owns a large stake in them, which is why Spike picked them up to begin with. On top of this, they can spend more to bring people in. However, when your CEO and President both leave….you start to wonder about business practices and money.

Still, it is harder to sell Bellator as a great MMA company with a lack of major fights. This is why the signing of Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz seemed to help the cause.

Adding to Bellator is King Mo and Bobby Lashley. both with wrestling credits on their resumes. King Mo’s is more recent, compared to the near decade for Lashley in wrestling.

Bobby Lashley MMA

Lashley is the current TNA World Heavyweight Champion. King Mo is coming into TNA and doing a bit of wrestling as well. Tito and Rampage both spent time in TNA as well. All of this, for some, makes us think Spike is pulling stunts to build up the fight down the line.

To the question comes up, how real is Bellator’s brand? Are they simply giving us a glorified pro-wrestling match?

It does make us wonder. Obviously with no one of major value in the company, at least of name, they are going after UFC guys or Pro-Wrestlers. However, what if those guys lose to someone that is lesser known? You see, that’s bad for business. This is why Bellator puts their big names against their big names. They want to assure someone with a name wins and, regardless, they can build a fighter. The issue is, marketing skills for Bellator seem nonexistent. If not for TNA, most wrestling fans would not know of them. They are on Spike, but not big enough to care about so few watch. UFC had seemingly bad ratings for their popularity on Spike, yet Bellator’s numbers are no better.

Imagine if fights got more interesting, though? Enter wrestlers. Trained in the art of faking out the crowd by using real moves to achieve a story, all the while knowing a move is coming and they are able to land as they are trained.

When Brock Lesnar went to the UFC, many wondered how real UFC was. Clearly though, Lesnar was a beast and forced a lot of people to take notice that he was one of the best fighters in the company. He won the UFC Heavyweight Championship due to his impressive skills. He beat Randy Couture for the title, a UFC legend, and he even ended Shane Carwin’s undefeated streak. He also beat down Frank Mir after Mir got lucky at the end of their first fight to make Lesnar tap.

Lesnar proved he was all real. However, this was one man in a company made of many branded stars. Bellator is not as lucky.

Due to this, you could make a case that they are working more business oriented and not so much “realistic.” While Bellator would say their MMA company is 100 percent real, the same was said about other MMA companies who were also glorified wrestling events. See Japan.

How real is a company when they seemingly want to bring in guys who have some sort of pro-wrestling background or are known actors/wrestlers? It makes one wonder how long they can do this without it being thought that they might not be 100 percent real.

Sure, giving random title shots to guys with a name that walk in is one thing. However, if the fight is still real, it would not matter who got the shot. MMA is supposed to be completely real. With people coming in, working with TNA Wrestling, along with others just randomly having wrestling and acting experience, you can make a case that Bellator is a company to watch. Not for their MMA fights, but for their “entertainment.”

[IMG Credits: Google]