I really hope that Bellator doesn’t make the trilogy fight between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler happen soon, especially since they claim it will go down on pay-per-view.
I like the Bellator product. The tournaments are fun and the concept works. The thing is, the company is young and the fan base is growing (but still not large). To be fair, maybe half of the UFC fans that order UFC pay-per-views watch Bellator. Spike TV is not the market it once was. TNA does small ratings and most recently their pay-per-view sold less than 25,000 buys. But yet their TV ratings show that they average about 1.5 million per show on Spike. Bellator most recently had about 500,000 people tune into their show on a Friday night.
Does Alvarez vs. Chandler III deserve to be on pay-per-view? Absolutely. But for a company that can successfully market the fight. Bellator is trying to do too much. Signing Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz for their PPV was a pretty bad move. Nothing against Rampage or Tito — they have earned their respective fan bases that follow them — but to just throw them on a card just to get on pay-per-view isn’t what’s best for business. But there are ways that a pay-per-view could work for them.
Now that Alvarez and Chandler will meet again, it makes most sense to let Alvarez defend his belt at least once, maybe twice. I would not put Chandler in a tournament; he deserves to get the belt back. This is where things can happen. They need shows featuring Alvarez and Chandler. As well as Daniel Straus and Pitbull. Put them on MTV, Spike, etc. Hit the foreign markets. Let the world truly get to know these guys. Continue to grow in the international market. Bring in new guys for tourneys. Consider a co-promotion. There are many things that can happen. Align with One FC. Host a New Years pay-per-view card with them after a year to build it up. The featured fight could be Alvarez vs Chandler III and the co-main could even be Dantas vs Fernandes.
Bellator, don’t try to do more than you can. Work with what you have, build relationships and let your product grow. When the time is right, all things will fall into place. No need to lose money trying to make your company look like something it is about three to five years away from being. Patience is a virtue.