By Evan Stoumbelis
In recent months, there has been more and more talk of Bellator competing with the UFC in terms of ratings as well as star power, and with Bellator getting ready to launch its inaugural Pay-Per View on May 17th, it’s only fair that we ask the question: Is Bellator a knockoff of the UFC?
In my opinion, yes. Not only are they a knockoff, they’re a poorly done knockoff. Not only has Bellator picked up former UFC fighters, namely Rampage Jackson, Tito Ortiz, and Cheick Kongo. They claim to treat their fighters better and pay them what they deserve, however if we take a look at fighter payouts for Bellator’s last event we see main card fighters being paid to win what UFC prelim fighters make to show.
At Bellator 115, main event fighter Cheick Kongo was paid $50,000 to show, and would have made an additional $50,000 had he won. His opponent, champion Vitaly Minakov, made $17,500 to show, and made an additional $17,500 when he won totaling $35,000. However when we look at the co-main event, both fighters pocketed $6,000 a piece in a majority draw ($3,000 to show and $3,000 to win for each fighter). In the next fight on the card, Kelly Anundson pocketed a total of $4,000 ($2,000 to show and $2,000 to win) in his win over Volkan Oezdemir who made $4,000 to show.
Compare this to the UFC’s last free televised event: UFC Fight Night 38: Shogun vs. Henderson 2. mma-manifesto.com reports Dan Henderson pocketed a cool $250,000 to show, and received a $50,000 fight of the night bonus as well as a $50,000 performance of the night bonus totaling $350,000. His opponent Mauricio Shogun Rua was paid $175,000 to show, and also received $50,000 for his fight of the night bonus. In the co-main event C.B. Dollaway was paid $20,000 to show, and $20,000 to win. His opponent Cezar Ferreira was paid $8,000 to show. The lowest paid fighter on the card was Ronny Markes who was paid $6,400 after $1,600 being deducted for missing weight.
The $6,400 Markes made was more than 14 of the 18 fighters on Bellator’s 115 card. Markes was on the preliminary card of UFC Fight Night 38.
Next we’ll take a look at the ratings for Bellator’s last 3 shows, as well as the UFC’s last 3 free shows.
UFC FN 38: Henderson vs. Shogun 2 (FS1) – 936,000 average views
Bellator 115 – 834,000 average views
UFC FN 36: Machida vs. Mousasi (FS1) – 1,400,000 average views
Bellator 114 – 711,000 average views
UFC on Fox 10: Henderson vs. Thomson (Fox) – 2,550,000 average views
Bellator 113 – 507,000 average views
These UFC numbers are not including Pay-Per Views or events shown on UFC Fight Pass.
Based on the above figures we can determine that Bellator isn’t catching up to the UFC anytime soon. Do they have a dedicated following? Of course they do. And fights like Chandler vs. Alvarez are pushing them in the right direction, but they have ways to go.
Poor Spike TV numbers, UFC washout fighters, failed reality series, horrible wanna be DW blogs. Yup, a poor man’s UFC indeed.