Bellator Fighting ChampionshipBellator MMA was launched in 2008 and has quickly become popular in the mixed martial arts world. The promotion used to be called the Bellator Fighting Championship, but they changed the name recently and now go by the name “Bellator MMA”.

The promotion operates out of Newport Beach, California and the CEO is Bjorn Rebney. Initially Bellator hosted events in the US only, but they’ve since moved to Canada and have started to host regular events in Canada as well as the United States now.

Bellator is a tiny promotion when compared to the UFC currently, but they’ve been doing great. Bellator offers a unique product where fighters compete in tournaments to become the #1 contender and for the chance to fight for the title in their weight class.

There are also other fights on the card at each event, but the main card is often tournament or title fights only. Bellator also has a unique “Season” format unlike other promotions. Each season features a 1+ tournament with eight fighters in the bracket.

Not only does the winner of each Bellator tournament earn a shot at the title, but they earn a $100,000 check. Bellator doesn’t pay fighters nearly as much as the UFC, but with $100K on the line for tournament winners they get the best out of fighters.

Bellator has started to receive more attention this past year due to a new deal with Spike. Bellator became popular after they were able to sign a national broadcasting deal with MTV2 in 2011. Seasons 4-7 of Bellator were aired live on MTV2.

The new deal with Spike TV is much better for the promotion and the number of viewers should increase. This summer (2013) there is a new reality show called “Fight Master: Bellator MMA”, which is a knockoff of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).

The reality show will air on Spike TV starting this summer and will bring more attention to Bellator. Bellator has quickly gained a reputation for being a stepping stone to the UFC for fighters that aren’t picked up by the UFC right away.

Young fighters are able to get national attention with Bellator and fight many seasoned veterans. The promotion doesn’t have the talent that the UFC has, but with Viacom owning a majority stake in the company Bellator isn’t short on marketing dollars.

Bellator Weight Classes & Current Champions (*April 2013)

  • Heavyweight – Alexander Volkov
  • Light Heavyweight – Attila Vegh
  • Middleweight – Alexander Shlemenko
  • Welterweight – Ben Askren
  • Lightweight – Michael Chandler
  • Featherweight – Pat Curran
  • Bantamweight – Eduardo Dantas

In the past year Bellator has been able to lock-up a lot of young talented fighters in the promotion. The competition in all of the weight classes is increasing and now the tournaments are very competitive where any fighter could come out as the winner.

Bellator is unlikely to ever contend with the UFC, but they do a great job offering a unique product. Many fans like the tourney format that Bellator utilizes although there are also many critics because sometimes the best fighters don’t get title shots.

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Bellator Events and Betting Odds

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