While few people would argue that the Ultimate Fighting Championship is the largest and most popular MMA promotion in the world (some folks still stay ‘ultimate figting’ after all…), most would agree Bellator has come a very long ways since it’s inception.
The Viacom property has been pulling decent numbers on SPIKE, and while not everyone agrees with some of Bellator’s signings, it has helped produce top tier fighters like Will Brooks, Michael Chandler and Douglas Lima, among many others.
Well, evidently UFC boss man Dana White doesn’t see it the same way….
While speaking to Sports Business Daily recently, here is some of what White had to say about competition and yes, Bellator:
“There’s always going to be other people out there and we need those people to exist. Not everybody can fight in the UFC. There has to be a place where younger talent can go and make money, build their records and then someday end up in the UFC. It’s definitely not a bad thing.”
“There’s just no value there. … ” White reportedly said, while discussing whether ZUFFA would buy Bellator. “If they called me today and they wanted me to do a deal with those guys, there’s literally no contracts over there that I would be interested in.”
Really? The UFC wouldn’t like to have Lima? Bellator’s welterweight champ? Who is a walking highlight reel and is also the older brother of TUF finalist, Dhiego Lima? No interest huh? Or Chandler? Having Chandler in the UFC’s 155 division wouldn’t add value? Particularly since they could match him up with Eddie Alvarez for a third fight? “Tiger” Sarnavskiy? Emanuel Newton? Etc?
Of course, White is likely just playing the business card here, and doesn’t want to credit his competitor’s talent. In addition, he has to be careful about expressing an interest in a fighter, who is already signed by another organization.
At some point, chances are some of the names mentioned above will wind up on the UFC roster.