Though other organizations have their benefits, due to its sheer popularity, UFC has always been the main choice for fighters. But on the other hand, it helps them avoid the problems UFC faces like fans appealing after Conor McGregor skips a bunch of contenders to get a title fight due to his stardom. For a long while, the UFC completely dominated the MMA scene, and only the hardcore fans knew of any other promotions in existence. Their first event, Bellator 1, took place in 2009 and featured fighters who are still popular today, like Jorge Masvidal and Eddie Alvarez. A major reason for this is the amount of time each organization has had to grow. Scott Coker , the Bellator president is a typical businessman; always very professional, rarely seen out of a shirt, and usually staying out of the limelight when it comes to news coverage. However, nowadays Bellator is far more well known and even has some exposure in the mainstream. UFC has a "matching making" style, meaning men in suits behind desks decide who fights for the title. To put things in perspective, if you look at a list of the most bought MMA PPVs ever, UFC holds the first 180+ spots on its own, before any other organization makes an appearance. UFC has a PPV business model. Here, we’ll be looking at both organisations independently of each other but also looking at how they stack up and what that means for the sport. So, history lesson over! Gegard Mousasi, Cris Cyborg, Rory MacDonald and some others too. Like the article mentioned before, a lot of top MMA talent is coming over from the UFC to Bellator, which is helping to build their brand name, as these fighters’ fan bases come over to Bellator and become familiar with their set-up. Bellator 253 - Caldwell vs. McKee pits Undefeated A.J. However, he has a point, which I don’t think you can really argue with (unless you’re super hardcore or just watch Bellator). Fast forward to today and the UFC has over 15 million followers on Instagram and hosts regular events in huge stadiums around the world, like Madison Square Garden. illiams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, Susumu Nagao/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images, G. Chase (logos from UFC/Bellator/Viacom/Versus. The first ever event, which was a one-night tournament, was created by Art Davie and put together on November 12, 1993. To close out 2020, a hot topic was Bellator vs. UFC at 205-pounds. Bellator 252 - Pitbull vs. Carvalho pits Patricio Pitbull Freire vs Pedro The Game Carvalho fight in Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, United States on Nov 12, 2020. The promotion has had worldwide superstars such as Conor McGregor fight under its banners and it recently celebrated its 25th year anniversary. Even though Bellator boasts its own stars and elite fighters, many of them (Gegard Mousasi, Cris Cyborg, Ryan Bader) are former UFC fighters, which only speaks to the organization’s power. As an MMA fan, I can almost guarantee that the first fight you ever saw was under the UFC banner. As painful as it may be to have two of the best fighters in the world in different organisations, it’s worth it if it’s better for the longevity of MMA. However, sometimes fighters move promotion for other reasons like; getting a better contract, they get cut from a promotion for bad behaviour, they fall out with the promotor, they get cut for going on a losing skid, they want to try out different competition. Bellator’s roster received a big influx of talent recently with the signing of Rory MacDonald, but there has always been a sizeable amount of talent signed to the promotion. UFC on ABC 1 Pictures The Ultimate Fighting Championship took its talents to network television for UFC on ABC 1. Considering Joe Rogan works as a commentator for the UFC, and has been involved with the company since before it became popular, you can’t take his opinion objectively. Since then, Bellator has only gained fans and has continued to become a viable option outside of UFC for fans and fighters alike. etc. The UFC has so much clout in the MMA world that a lot of people with shallow knowledge of the sport refer to mixed martial arts as ‘UFC’ as in ‘hey, do you train UFC’ which is a statement that a lot of famous fans use on the UFC unfiltered vlog series. Women's Featherweight -- Amanda Nunes (UFC) vs. Cris Cyborg (Bellator): This fight happened at UFC 232 in December 2018 and was a disaster for Cyborg. The UFC is an American company owned by William Morris Endeavour, and Dana White is the President of the UFC. The welterweight pair, originally booked for December’s UFC Vegas 17, have now landed on UFC 258 in February. This is probably more down to the UFC having bigger budgets for fight promotion, and also having a much bigger fanbase, and it’s also down to the fighters self-promotion themselves. Smith Predicts UFC Champs vs. Bellator Champs Smith firmly believes that virtually all the UFC champs would beat their Bellator counterparts. Fighter - UFC Fight Island 7 It’s the fight before the fight — but thankfully, just with a keyboard, otherwise we’d lose badly. Since then, thanks to the signings of former UFC fighters like Rory MacDonald, Gegard Mousasi and Benson Henderson, Bellator has developed into the UFC’s biggest rival promotion bar none. Scott Coker, the Bellator president is a typical businessman; always very professional, rarely seen out of a shirt, and usually staying out of the limelight when it comes to news coverage. Bellator 254 Main Event – Llima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Juliana Velasquez. The event basically had no rules at all and it was later described by Senator McCain as “human cockfighting”. The UFC was one of the first MMA promotions, holding its first event in 1993. The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA have for long been competing for the position of the best fight promotion in the world. Riding an 11-fight win streak, Macfarlane has for the most part destroyed the flyweight division. Bellator MMA (formally Bellator Fighting Championships) is an American mixed martial arts promotion founded in 2008 and based in Santa Monica, California that is owned and operated as a subsidiary of ViacomCBS.It is one of the largest combat sport promotions in the world and the second largest in the United States. Johnson vs. Romero is a gift-wrapped outstanding fight, and it could come as part of a light heavyweight tournament that would also feature the likes of champion Vadim Nemkov, Ryan Bader, Phil Davis, Lyoto Machida, Gegard Mousasi, and Corey Anderson. This is due to the gigantic growth the UFC has had since its inception. As much as UFC feels like the NBA, Bellator is not comfortable being some sort of G League. Coker’s promotion also does not utilize any kind of ranking system, other than there being a champion in each weight class. You don’t ever hear people asking whether you train Bellator. But importantly, professional fighters do have choices about where they’d like to fight out their careers and one of the best options is Bellator. More importantly however, is that Bellator seems to be scaling back on their “spectacle” fights; the kind that brought us such timeless classics as Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice, Royce Gracie vs. Shamrock III, and of course … Fighter’s walkouts are emphasized more in Bellator too, with competitors getting their own entrance videos as they walk down a ramp on their own, making the occasion feel more momentous. Bellator 238: Budd vs. Cyborg took place on January 25, 2020 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.The event aired live on DAZN.. Background. 5 years ago, every fighter wanted to get to the UFC, for some fighters it was an ‘end goal’ like getting a world title belt. Bellator MMA was founded much later than UFC, a full decade and a half later, in fact. For one, Bellator uses a circular cage as opposed to the UFC’s famous octagon, which is arguably a better format for fighting. Results Writer vs. Before we do that, let’s quickly just define what these two juggernaut promotions are. Dana isn’t afraid of speaking his mind to anyone and it gets him a lot of coverage in the MMA world, which in turn helps to build up the UFC. I’m not sure where the sport would be without UFC. 3 reasons to watch Bellator 254: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Juliana Velasquez Andy Nesbitt 12/8/2020 U.S. If MMA were basketball, in many ways, the UFC would be the NBA. So that’s probably the biggest difference between the 2 promotions. Bellator’s lack of this has its own benefits and drawbacks. Even when Bellator has its own fighter who becomes a champion, like Douglas Lima, a conversation about them being the best in the world doesn’t happen without seeing how they’d match up with UFC’s champion in the same weight class, think Kamaru Usman. they were all tied to the UFC as it was their fighters getting all the news coverage. etc. Now, Bellator is a legitimate promotion which a lot of elite fighters sign for, even when they get offers from the UFC e.g. They created Zuffa, UFC’s parent entity. Bellator is manned by Scott Coker who was already respected in the sport for founding Strikeforce, an organization that has seen the likes of Daniel Cormier and Ronda Rousey rising through the ranks and is greatly revered by MMA fans worldwide. When the UFC started to become the company that we know it as today was the early 2000s after brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta and their business partner Dana White purchased it for $2 million. UFC 1 was a tournament which in the finals, saw Gerard Gordeau fighting Royce Grace, which Grace of course won. Think Conor McGregor fights, think McGregor vs Mayweather, think Ronda Rousey etc. When UFC makes decisions like taking away fighters’ in-cage sponsorships in favour of Reebok uniforms which see them making just a few thousand dollars a night as opposed to six or seven figures, having Bellator around is a necessity. If you’re even bored or you just want to get to know Dana a bit better, then leave him a controversial comment on one of his Instagram posts, and if you’re lucky enough he may just kick off at you…. On the other hand, Dana White, the long-serving president of the UFC, is incredibly outspoken, loud, charismatic, and sometimes hostile with; fighters, fans, reporters, MMA referees. MMA news, interviews, pictures, videos and more since 1997. The 2 presidents of these promotions are VERY different characters. When UFC fighters enter negotiations, rare as they may be, to have Bellator ready to match offers is important for fighters’ pay. UFC’s highest-selling event is Khabib vs. Conor, which did 2.4 million. Just like it usually does when competition is present, rivalry has brewed here and there between UFC and Bellator, but the sustenance and growth of both individually is crucial. Though UFC, the leading MMA organisation, often gets confused with the actual sport and practice of MMA, there are in fact multiple organisations worldwide. Bellator 254: MacFarlane vs Velasquez preview Bellator has truly made the most of a sour year, staging some of their most fun events to date and adding more talent to their roster. It was only founded in 2008, and Scott Coker is its president (a less known public figure than his rival in the UFC, Dana White, although its possible this is more down to the controversial figure which Dana White cuts, which regularly keeps him in the headlines). Bellator knows very well that it built one of the best lightweights in the world. Corey Anderson weighs in on the UFC vs. Bellator debate by ranking the top nine light heavyweight fighters not named Corey Anderson. Ask an MMA fan to name you some iconic UFC fights and they might point at Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar, Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell or Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida. Cross-promotional fights have happened in the past like Darrion Caldwell v Horiguchi (Bellator vs One) but none have ever happened between Bellator and the UFC (yet, although this could change VERY soon, maybe even pitting Ryan Bader vs Daniel Cormier). To this day, fans put Royce on MMA’s Mount Rushmore. So, in order to try and un-muddy the waters, this article is going to explain the key differences between the two MMA promotions, and add a little bit of their history so you can understand the two companies a little bit better. Bellator MMA in 2021: Patricio Pitbull vs. AJ McKee among three biggest fights to make in the new year There's plenty of big fights on the horizon for Bellator next year Bellator's main event, with Curran vs. Freire, is likely to go into the cage at around 10 p.m., roughly the same time as Michael Chiesa (11-1) vs. Joe Lauzon (23-10). On one hand, it feeds into their perception as a second-rank organization and arguably takes them out of high-level MMA conversations. Bellator is nowhere near as old as the UFC. When your promotion’s name is used as a verb just like Google’s brand name is, or Hoover’s brand name is, then you know you’ve made it to the pinnacle of your industry. Senator Hawley finds new publisher after Capitol attack backlash Top 10 Brazilian MMA Fighters of all time. Having competed for both promotions, Corey Anderson leans towards his new home. Winning season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2014, Anderson would go on to enjoy a 10-5 tenure inside the Octagon (14-5 overall). Why can’t there just be one etc. Neither promotion can say it has all the best fighters. Yoel Romero will reunite with Scott Coker under the Bellator banner. The seemingly never-ending shuffling of the deck continues when it comes to UFC cards, and this time out it’s Belal Muhammad vs. Dhiego Lima. There are even YouTube compilations of him going ‘crazy’ or entering in feuds with fighters, or even kicking off at what he perceived as bad MMA ref decisions. Even though Bellator is a distant second to UFC in more ways than one, competition is vital and a monopoly benefits no-one but UFC’s suits. Buy tickets, browse fighter stats, get fight results, stream live events, and watch full fight videos and highlights. What are the real differences between the 2 promotions? The company was founded by Bjorn Rebney and started out with one night tournaments, before moving to the now standard format of having 1-v-1 matches on ‘fight nights’. The Viacom-owned promotion certainly has many world-class gems. Bellator are still growing their fanbase, but they have a lot of popular fighters like Michael Page (MVP), Paul Daley (an ex-UFC fighter cut for throwing a late punch), Chael Sonnen (also ex-UFC), Chandler, the Pitbull brothers…. MMA Rules: Rules of a UFC fight explained. Instead, both promotions have a completely different set of fighters who work under their contracts. The list includes Jan Blachowicz, Yoel Romero, Dominick Reyes, Anthony Johnson, Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, Aleksandar Rakic, Vadim Nemkov and Thiago Santos. Fighters regularly move from promotion to promotion. Making her fifth title defense, Hawaiian champ Macfarlane will headline Bellator 254 with the intention of making promotional history. Considering that acts like; hair pulling, eye gouging, groin shots were all allowed back in the early 1990s UFC events, it’s not really a surprise that people saw it as abhorrent. But this is also the point where the UFC cuts so much that Bellator is able to make real inroads. Michael Chandler, Gegard Mousasi. The UFC is keen to keep themselves well above Bellator, and there are even rumours floating around about a voicemail message left between the Fertitta brothers and Dana White which mentioned squeezing Bellator until they collapse, but at this point it’s just conjecture and it could have just been a drunken joke. The sport was still looked at human cockfighting, so Lorenzo Fertitta’s attorneys called him crazy for the purchase, but it would later prove to be genius. Bellator, a fellow American promotion, has always been second to the UFC in every weight class. So, that’s a brief intro to the UFC, let’s look at Bellator now. More rules were implemented into the fights and MMA developed into a serious sport that was watched by hundreds of thousands of eager viewers. For one, Bellator uses a circular cage as opposed to the UFC’s famous octagon, which is arguably a better format for fighting. Fighter’s walkouts are emphasized more in Bellator too, with competitors getting their own entrance videos as they walk down a ramp on their own, making the occasion feel more momentous. The 2 presidents of these promotions are VERY different characters. If they’re lucky then they are moving to a bigger promotion which offers them more money and more exposure to the public. However, the UFC has come a long way since then and it really started to grow more and more into a sport when the Fertitta brothers bought the UFC with their business partner, Dana White (who is now the UFC president). Anderson signed with Bellator in August after asking for and being granted his release from the UFC. In late 2008, Bellator became the first MMA promotion to secure a deal for showing live MMA fights on TV with the ESPN family (ESPN Deportes). Coker replaced Bjorn Rebney as Bellator’s President in 2014 and his aim was to take it away from the tournament-styled organization it had grown to become. The industry pioneer in UFC, Bellator and all things MMA (aka Ultimate Fighting). Generally speaking, the UFC has the bigger superstars (Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Ronda Rousey, Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Max Holloway, the list goes on). Bellator has a "tournament" style, meaning a fighter has to win 3 fights in 3 months in a Bellator tournament in order to get a title shot. The belief is that both the best and most popular fighters are there, so it’s incredibly hard to be considered one of the greats while fighting somewhere else. After calling out a host of MMA fighters, including Conor McGregor—repeatedly, it seemed as though Paul would be boxing retired Bellator, ONE and UFC vet Ben Askren. However, a lot of people don’t know the difference between UFC v Bellator and some more people don’t even realise that they’re not the same company. Just like UFC’s initial offering, it was a tournament that would play out over the following few events. Joe Rogan said on his JRE podcast, the UFC is taken more seriously than Bellator. In terms of functioning differences, there are a few. The UFC had a MASSIVE pull on fighters, which usually meant that the UFC could negotiate pretty bad contracts for the fighters. How the company’s worth increase was Dana and the Fertittas’ insistence on getting it to be perceived just like any other sport by getting it legalized everywhere possible, getting sanctioning bodies onboard, and other changes like to the rules and even production aesthetics. Mercenary McKee vs Darrion The Wolf Caldwell fight in Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, United States on Nov 19, 2020. To kick off 2021, we’re opening up a new series: Writer vs. Bellator’s highest-selling PPV was Bellator 120 in 2014 when King Mo fought Rampage, which did 100k buys. Can You Guess Who Owns These MMA Fighter Tattoos? In contrast, Bellator was founded in 2008, about 15 years later. At any given moment, UFC has a champion, fifteen ranked contenders, and fighters who want placement in the division’s list of top contenders. On The Doorstep: 5 fighters who could make UFC or Bellator with January wins To most MMA fans, Bellator is the 2nd largest fight promotion, although it has drawn top talent away from the UFC quite regularly, by offering fighters better contracts with more money e.g. Muhammad announced the new date on his own podcast, Remember the Show. If they weren’t already filthy rich, you’d say they hit the jackpot. Elite MMA fighters will end up fighting for one of a few top promotions depending on contract negotiations, relationships with management and personal preferences. UFC, which stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship, is an MMA promotion which was founded in 1993. This has always been Bellator’s main downfall from fans. Obviously as these are 2 completely separate promotions, they can’t share fighters fighting under their banners. He’s been a critical part of the ‘UFC circus’ which people love. Bellator 254 - Macfarlane vs. Velasquez pits Undefeated Juliana Velasquez vs Ilima-Lei The Ilimanator Macfarlane fight in Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, United States on Dec 10, 2020. The promotion takes its name from bellātor, the Latin word for "warrior".. Bellator's first … Three-time former Bellator champion Michael Chandler remains of the best fighters to have ever competed inside the Bellator cage and one of the most popular figures groomed in the promotion.. Chandler (21-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) fought out his contract with Bellator last fall after knocking out Benson Henderson. The event featured a Bellator Women's Featherweight World Championship bout between the champion Julia Budd and former Strikeforce, Invicta, and UFC champion Cris Cyborg.. Another difference in the UFC vs Bellator question is the characteristics of the promotions’ presidents. When UFC first began holding events in 1993, it was mostly a platform to discover how one fighting style would work against another, which the Gracie family, MMA royalty, shined in. As much as Dana might not want to admit it, having Bellator around does a satisfactory job of keeping UFC on its toes and as much as both promotions grow in the coming years, more and more young fighter will pick Bellator (or PFL or ONE) as their homes, which should eventually lead to more of an even spread of the elite of the elite in MMA across multiple organisations across multiple continents. In 2016, the company was sold to WME-IMG for more than $4 billion, an unimaginable 199,990% increase on what it was bought for just sixteen years earlier. Fighter. Watch the tier list and let us know how you would arrange the rankings. This was shortly after the company held its first PPV and was clearly a shift towards a new direction. 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