–Kenny Rice

It was worth a shot. Two very popular former champions, from the most recognized organization, would be the marquee match for an organization hoping to be a legitimate rival in the near future.

Somewhere last Friday while Bellator was scrambling to line up a press conference saying their first Pay Per View foray was history before it could even make history, the UFC folks you know were at least grinning. This PPV stuff they make look effortless, ain’t all that easy.

When Tito Ortiz was out with a neck injury, so was the main event; then the entire card left the PPV offering for cable TV this Saturday.

There are three title fights on the card including Michael Chandler taking on the returning Eddie Alvarez. But according to Bjorn Rebney, the Bellator boss, even with the “epic fights” as he puts it, still going on, there was an almost immediate discussion to put them on Spike TV.

Does it mean that seeing two former champions from the UFC, years removed from their title reign would be more of a draw than the current champs? The PPV partners obviously agree by what Bellator called a very understanding lot all the way through when they were told Ortiz was out. He might have been the one name they all recognized.

While Rebney says there will a PPV offering in the future, will it mean a back-up plan locked firmly in place for a replacement? Quinton “Rampage Jackson, who waits for some kind of backup match now that he is idle because of the Ortiz injury, was hoping a plan was already locked in.

And the real elephant in the room, not that young fighters don’t get injured and have to withdraw from events, but maybe putting all the eggs into veteran baskets with history of injuries might not be the next course of PPV action.

Rebney has done a great sales job for his organization and landing the partnership with Viacom is a coup.

But even with “giving fans great fights for free” it’s hard to see this as anything other than a setback and maybe a revised game plan, if and when another PPV deal is considered.



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