Bellator has made headlines in recent weeks by signing established fighters like “Rampage” Jackson, Diego Nunes and John Alessio (as well as prospect Bubba Jenkins), and has increased its exposure considerably by moving to SPIKE, but none of it apparently concerns UFC President Dana White. Not that anyone should be surprised by that of course. While speaking to MMA Junkie.com recently, the front man for the planet’s biggest MMA promotion had this to say about the Viacom owned Bellator.
“They’re never going to be as good as us,” White said. “This is what we do 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Christmas. Easter. Let Christmas time come. Viacom shuts down from Dec. 3 to after the new year and then all the big holidays in between. Christmas? I’m on the f—ing phone on Christmas. Easter? I’m on the phone. Thanksgiving? I’m on the phone. Bad s–t happens in our business every day, and if something real bad happens.”
Even White’s detractors would have a tough time arguing that the man doesn’t work ridiculously hard, as by all indications, he works an ungodly amount of hours due to his extensive responsibilities as UFC President. White also took this position against the deeply pocketed Viacom:
“We’re the original. We invested in this thing and believed in it when nobody else did. Viacom MMA, they’re just a ‘me, too.’ They didn’t believe in this thing when we pitched them ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ They didn’t believe in it so much that we had to invest $10 million into that show, and then they liked it a lot better after that happened. But they never got it, and they never will.”
Now regardless of how you feel about Bellator, and really, discussion that it could pose a threat to the UFC’s market share at this juncture seems premature, but there were plenty of doubters when it hit the MMA scene several years ago. Now, here it is four years and 96 shows later, and Bellator has grown to become one of the sport’s biggest promotions. How many organizations have set out to do the same, only to fail miserably?