If there was any comparison in last night’s Bellator Fighting Championships to the company’s explosion onto the scene it was probably King Mo’s first round knockout.
Jab, jab, jab...knockout. That’s essentially what the Newport Beach based company has done over the last few years as they have grown and got their knockout in the ratings surging on Spike.
Bellator has become a legitimate contender to grow MMA and possibly take some of the UFC’s market share while developing fighters of the future. The debut event and subsequent follow up on Spike has given Bellator its biggest audience in the company’s three-year history and created buzz across the sport of MMA.
And seemingly, they are doing it the right way.
Other organizations have stepped up and tried to go blow-for-blow with Dana White and the UFC. Bellator, on the other hand, has continued to build its brand with great fights, good production value and tournaments that help to grow an audience slowly over time.
Last night was a well-produced television broadcast and the most popular Bellator fighter. King Mo, came away with a win and that’s definitely good for business.
The smartest thing the company is doing is trying not to fool MMA fans into thinking their product is better than the UFC. Rather, it’s different and allows fans to track the entire league week to week for free.
The inability to throw elbows in the tournament actually helps the company and its young fighters. There is less laying and clinching in fights that go to the ground, which makes for better TV. Fighters are forced to throw punches, kicks or have to stand up if they lack ground skill.
But when a championship fight comes, you had better make sure you know how to throw or defend them, or else you will end up like Karl Amoussou at Bellator 86, eating Ben Askren elbows and fists all night.
Bellator has momentum and the worst thing they can do right now is lose focus on the game plan. Their product is good and they don’t need to make any crazy changes. They just need to keep putting on great fights that entertain the Spike television audience and their company will grow just like it has since its inception, slowly but surely.