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The bright side of Tito/Quinton: At least Roy Jones won’t destroy Rampage

By Zach Arnold | July 31, 2013

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Jeremy Botter: Bellator makes great decision with Rampage Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz on PPV

Tito Ortiz vs. Rampage Jackson. Bellator PPV. November 2nd. Long Beach, California at LB Arena. Not a lot of time to promote the event and get the ground game going for promotion, even with Viacom’s resources.

The good news is that we won’t see RJJ destroy Rampage in a boxing fight. Additionally, the fight should draw a pretty decent gate in California. Right location to draw a crowd that will be interested and sympathetic to both fighters.

I am not sure what the price point would be. I’m thinking $30 is about right. Over/under -> 75,000 PPV buys. I’ll say barely over that benchmark. Anything over 85,000 PPV buys would be gravy.

There was quite a bit of mockery of the Tito/Rampage fight announcement. It was interesting to watch the rather mild response of the Bellator crowd in Albuquerque to Tito Ortiz’s ring entrance with the US flag. Naturally, Viacom & Spike love established names instead of building stars.

Who will be next? Ken Shamrock?

At the Albuquerque event on Wendesday night, Michael Chandler and Ben Askren toyed with their respective opponents and retained their belts. Chandler is going nowhere given his new contract with Bellator. Will Chandler get an opportunity to fight Eddie Alvarez again?

The inimitable Rich Hansen brings up the obvious. Eddie Alvarez doesn’t have the cash to keep fighting Viacom in court. His one route of trying to break out of his Bellator contract without spending significant cash would be to file a motion with the California State Athletic Commission to try to get an arbitration hearing with Andy Foster. Bellator is now a California-based promoter, so this would seem to be (on paper) a viable option for challenge. The problem is that the Executive Officer wants business in California and Bellator is a key player for live events in the state. The Long Beach show means $ for Sacramento. I don’t see how the commission would have the heart to side with Alvarez over Bellator.

A settlement that would make sense for all parties involved would be to reach some sort of cold peace, give Alvarez an immediate match with Chandler and book that fight as the semi-main event of the November 2nd PPV in Long Beach. This is something that would actually make sense for Andy Foster to try to push to both Bellator and Alvarez. It would be in everyone’s best business interests to do so.

Unlike Michael Chandler, Ben Askren now is technically a free agent. However, the reported & alleged nature of the Bellator boxing-style contracts with options upon options will make it more difficult to break away from the promotion. As for Matt’s question about whether or not UFC would want to sign Askren, my feeling is they would do it — simply to screw with Viacom and take away the best fighter they have. Askren’s fight style will not appeal to the UFC fan base but if signing him away from Bellator causes significant damage, Dana will make it happen.

Exit question: Other than some glorified camera time & press mentions, what exactly did Roy Jones get out of the fawning from both Viacom and the UFC?

Exit question II: How much pressure will there be on Andy Foster to allow Rampage to use testosterone? DCA lawyer Michael Santiago recently said no new testosterone hall passes. With money on the line, who will blink?

Topics: Bellator, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 39 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

39 Responses to “The bright side of Tito/Quinton: At least Roy Jones won’t destroy Rampage”

  1. Sundog says:

    Most interesting night in Bellator history?

    I’m not sure the Tito/Rampage fight is a bad thing if they use it to highlight Chandler, Curran, and the Pitbull brothers

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    1) November 2nd is a horrible date for a PPV. Halloween parties will be going on on that night. It is not a stay in and order a PPV type of Saturday. This isn’t being talked about enough in the media right now.

    2) Ortiz vs. Rampage would have been perfect for SpikeTV. If Viacom was serious about MMA long term, they would have given this fight away for free. This fight is tailor made for SpikeTV. They would have looked at it as an investment for the future. Instead they are looking for a quick fix and want to see if they can make money on PPV.

    3) The problem with Bellator’s card last night is that basically all of the fans went 5-0 in predicting the outcomes of the fights. They were all squash fights except the Heavyweight fight. It makes for a boring card, even when they had the most name power they ever had.

    4) If the UFC signs Askren, we will see Askren lose to some of the better wrestlers in the division. And then the UFC can tout how both Lombard & Askren came over and couldn’t get the job done. As for Bellator, who are they going to replace him with? Are they going to have another situation like at Middleweight where a former title challenger wins the belt and makes it look second rate by default?

    5) It is funny to watch the anti-UFC crowd online go crazy for this fight. If Evans/Henderson is not a good PPV headliner, then Ortiz/Rampage is rather pathetic by comparison. I say it does 45,000 PPV Buys.

  3. david m says:

    I am way more excited for this fight than most UFC main events. Promotion is about making the fans care about fighters. How many UFC fighters do UFC fans really care about, whether positively or negatively? BJ Penn, GSP, Nick Diaz, Anderson Silva, Chael, Rashad (kinda), Machida (kinda), Jon Jones, Cain (kinda), Roy Nelson (kinda), Junior Dos (kinda), Vitor (kinda), Edgar (kinda), Faber/Aldo (both at most kinda), Rory (kinda–but he has a chance to become an actual star given his personality and skill level), and Weidman (kinda–again with possibility for growth–not because of his personality, but because if he beats Anderson twice, he is going to be well known. If he keeps finishing people brutally and grows a personality, he could really get known).

    I think Ben Askren, boring as he may be, has the potential to be a star because he dominates everyone and he talks a lot of shit. King Mo too had star potential; I have no idea why he isn’t in the UFC.

    Of the people who have garnered interest from the public, the majority are on the downside of their careers. While Tito vs Rampage are certainly both shells of themselves at this point, they both were able to get massive PPV draws, and both gained enough fame that they have legitimate name value. If you were to go into a bar and ask “would you rather see Jose Aldo vs Stun Gun Kim or Rampage vs Tito”, everyone would choose the latter. Both men can talk, both men have charisma, name value, and cred as former champs.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      “I am way more excited for this fight than most UFC main events.”

      Since this will be on PPV, lets compare it to the UFC PPV’s of this year. You are more excited for Rampage/Ortiz then the majority of these fights?

      1. Aldo/Edgar
      2. Rousey/Carmouche
      3. GSP/Diaz
      4. Jones/Sonnen
      5. Velasquez/Silva 2
      6. Evans/Henderson
      7. Silva/Weidman
      8. Aldo/TKZ
      9. Henderson/Pettis 2
      10. Jones vs. Gustaffson
      11. Velasquez/JDS 3
      12. GSP/Hendricks
      13. Silva/Weidman 2

      You are a MMA Hipster. I can see being more excited for that fight then maybe one or two of the UFC main events on that list. But even Evans/Henderson…. Which I did not order on PPV…. Is far more interesting then Rampage/Ortiz.

      Doesn’t matter anyways. Viacom is desperate. The TV ratings are bad so they are moving the show to Friday. This is a way to see if they can make money and justify the Bellator expense.

      Even most people who are saying they will order this, say they won’t spend more then $20. This PPV will be priced at $40 or more, and most people won’t buy it. It will do under 50,000 buys and lose money.

      • RST says:

        Tito/Jackson isn’t particularly better then any of those, but when you put them in a list like that it makes it plainer to see how many of those headliners are kinda garbage.

        Sonnen/Jones. 🙁

        Tito/Jackson has the advantage of no intention for impact on rankings, claims towards the highest level of the sport or any significance to anything other then itself.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Isn’t particularly better then any of them?

          Of the 13 main events…. Twelve of them included the #1 ranked fighter in the world. And only two of the fights did not include a Top 10 ranked fighter. Those are Chael Sonnen and Frank Edgar. And Edgar was easily a worthy opponent being a former champion of the weight class above and barely losing his belt.

          Tito Ortiz isn’t ranked in the Top 30…. And Jackson would be lucky to be considered #15 in the world at this point.

          It isn’t even close. These MMA Hipsters are funny.

      • david m says:

        Only fights on that list I was/am more interested in than Tito-Page are GSP-Diaz, Silva – Weidman 1/2, and possibly GSP/Hendricks (although let’s be fair, Johnny Hendricks lost to fucking Rick Story–nobody can say with a straight face that he has a chance in hell against GSP, the best fighter in mma history not named Fedor). Jon Jones vs Chael also had my interest from an emotive standpoint.

        You are looking at these fights from a faux purist’s perspective. I am looking at these fights as someone who has watched mma closely for 15 years and is not particularly excited about the sport qua sport anymore. I have followed Tito and Rampage’s career for a long time; I remember in high school going to Blockbuster and watching Tito beat the fuck out of dudes on VHS. He was, for a time, the most famous mma fighter on Earth, or at least in America. He carries himself with a certain level of confidence that only a former champion who knows what it feels like to be THE BEST, can. Rampage similarly has that aura of someone who has reached the pinnacle and believes he is the best in the world.

        Between Tito’s great run of success, to his drama with Dana, to his embarrassing losses against Liddell and Randy, to his fall as a fighter and subsequent rise, Tito’s career arc has been one to behold. Love or hate him, the dude elicits an emotive response from fans. Same with Rampage. Anyone who was a Pride fan, who saw how superior Pride was to UFC (and frankly, UFC STILL has not caught up to Pride), and who loved the larger than life characters in Pride (a group of which Quinton was a part), cannot help but watch him.

        Why do I care about Jose Aldo or women’s mma or Alexander Gustaffson (tall jobber) or a rematch squash match between Cain and Bigfoot or Dan Henderson v Rashad in a main event coming off of clear losses? Are you serious with those? Ben Henderson in my eyes is still a club fighter; I think he is the least talented champion the UFC has ever had outside its heavyweight division.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          As The Gaijin pointed out below, this would have been a great fight in 2003.

          In 2013, this is a horrible fight, even for long time fans.

          They are both coming into the fight on 3 fight losing streaks. Tito is 1-7-1 in his last 9 fights. Quinton is 2-4 in his last 6 fights, and one of those should have been a loss.

          Did you see Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz 3? It was horrible. Did you see some of those “legends” fights the IFL put on? They were horrible.

          Sorry you lost your love for the sport, but if the history of MMA has taught us anything… It is that this fight is going to stink up the joint.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And not to attack you too much… But your last paragraph sort of makes you look like a fool in terms of your opinion of MMA.

          Henderson/Evans was a fight between two guys coming off ONE LOSS…. And are still both Top 10 fighters. And Henderson is considered a legend. But that is garbage and Quinton/Tito is not? Are you kidding me?

          I didn’t order Evans/Henderson because I didn’t think it was PPV Quality headliner. Which means by default, Quinton/Tito isn’t even close to headline worthy.

          And Ben Henderson is a club fighter? BWAHAHAHAHA…. He is the #1 ranked Lightweight in the world. And he deserves that ranking. He has beaten Edgar, Cerrone, & Melendez. And he had a really close loss to Pettis. And that makes him club level?

          Like I said earlier, you are a MMA Hipster. If washed up “legends” is the only thing that gets your MMa juices flowing, then you sort of are looking to just hate on the norm and cheer for the underdog, no matter how many realy facts go by you….

        • david m says:

          I am not debating the merits of this fight as one with title implications. It appeals to me sentimentally.

          Dan Henderson is someone I find unappealing. He is a cheater, he whines constantly, he is a sore loser, and he seems like a bad person. You asked my subjective opinion on which fights I would prefer. I find Tito and Rampage both much more compelling than HGHendo and Rashad.

          Bendo has the skills of a club fighter. He is a champion because he is a wonderful athlete and tough as nails, but come on, in terms of artistry, the guy is nothing to watch.

          I still have no idea what an MMA hipster is, and I suspect you don’t either.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          A Hipster is somebody who is “counter-culture” or likes things that are “old school”. Which is exactly what you are when it comes to MMA. A MMA Hipster!!

          The UFC is popular and #1? So lets bash that and praise the #2 company that has much less talent and is #2. What? The current fighters are garbage? But lets praise these old school guys like they matter!!

          The reality is that if the UFC put on Quinton Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz in 2013 as a PPV Headliner…. People like you would be complaining about how horrible the UFC PPV’s are these days.

          And while people might say I am too pro UFC…. The reality is that I didn’t buy Evans/Henderson because of the QUALITY of the main event. And I stick to that when I say I won’t buy Ortiz/Jackson because of the QUALITY of the main event.

          You on the other hand, just like to cheer for what is not popular in MMA.

        • david m says:

          lol, this is probably the most clever thing I have seen you write after all your years of insufferable trolling on this website.

          Anyway, I didn’t say I would buy this–you just invented those words. I said it interests me more. I will probably watch the fight at a bar if it is playing there, and find another way to watch if it is not.

          Also, please quote me praising Bellator. Just kidding, you can’t, because no such praise has come out of my keyboard. I don’t ever even discuss Bellator because I have legitimately seen their shows twice ever (both by accident), and don’t care to follow their fights.

          By your “logic”, anyone who criticizes UFC is a mma hipster. You are like one of the censors in an authoritarian state that says anyone who criticizes the state must have some nefarious ideas. I additionally never said the fighters are garbage–you are just making things up now (which I guess is par for the course). I said Pride was better than UFC–guess what: it was! The intros, the artistry, the ring, the crowds, the atmosphere, etc., were all better than what the UFC does. Stop being a crybaby.

          If UFC put on Rampage vs Tito as a PPV main event, I would lol, just like I lol at Hendo vs Rashad. Tito vs Rampage, if done by the UFC, would certainly draw a lot more than HGHendo v Rashad, but so what? It would still OBJECTIVELY be ridiculous as a main event for the preeminent mma org in the world. But subjectively? FUCK YEA, I can’t wait!

          Where did you get the idea I only like to cheer for what is not popular in mma? You seriously just make shit up as you go.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Your last years worth of posts would indicate that you generally just bash the UFC, even when they are doing good things.

          And just because you criticize the UFC, doesn’t make you a UFC Hipster.

          I just spend the last week on this website ripping the UFC to shreds based on some bad decision making. I said I want to see female MMA go to Showtime. I want less weight classes in the UFC. I bashed their decision to cut ties with Showtime instead of giving them smaller weight classes. I judge things on their merit. The UFC is the #1 organization so obviously they are doing something right and have less room to complain about. But I do call it with valid complaints.

          You are much like MMA Supremacy is. Everything you say about the UFC is with a negative bias. And everything you say about the lesser organizations is with rose colored glasses. If it happens enough, it sort of makes your opinion invalid.

      • nottheface says:

        How does have interest in Tito/Rampage make him a hipster? I would think interest in two faded stars that represent MMA and the UFC’s Golden Age is more a sign of nostalgia than anything else.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Because if the UFC put on Ortiz/Rampage… He would be bashing it. Just like he does everything else the UFC does for the most part.

        • david m says:

          nottheface–don’t look for logic from 45. Just be impressed that his middle school education has taken him this far.

          Words like nostalgia are probably going to go over 45’s head. Just say hipster.

          45’s panties are in a bunch because I bash shitty UFC cards, like Rashad v HGHendo, which he himself did not buy. According to 45, as a consumer, I don’t have a right to complain about a shit product.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Who said you don’t have a right to complain about a bad product.

          I am pointing out how you bash the UFC for a “bad” product, and then praise Bellator for an even WORSE product.

        • david m says:

          I get it. You think that because you occasionally criticize the UFC, it makes your opinions valid after years of constant fanboy support and rabid defense/spamming/trolling?

          I didn’t criticize the UFC at all in this thread. You literally just make things up. I said I care about Tito and Rampage, and thus want to see them fight. I don’t care about most of the UFC’s generic fighters. If that bothers you, that is your problem. I don’t work so that I have money to watch Alexander Gustaffson or Bigfoot Silva or Dan Henderson fight. I couldn’t imagine caring any less about any of their careers.

          The idea of you saying that someone else’s opinion is invalid is perhaps the silliest thing I have read on this site. You can probably find 5 posts I have ever written in which I even mention Bellator. Obviously, to me, following mma means following the UFC. If I am still here, I am still a fan. Yet somehow I am not nice enough to Dana. Boo hoo.

      • RST says:

        That list isn’t that bad. Although for some reason I’ve got more of a problem with a #1 ranked fighter wasting ring years then with two b level guys against each other. For instance, I’d be more comfortable with sonnen/belfortrt then sonnen/Jones. Or belfortrt/jones. I dont get rousy/carmouche. Aldo/TKZ is just mean. Silva/Weidman 2 is too soon.

        Cain/Dos is too soon. GSP/Diaz was an endlessly unfunny meta joke. But I do find them at least mostly harmless, in a tito/jackson kind of way.

  4. Safari_Punch says:

    I wonder what Bellator does for an encore?

  5. RST says:

    “Boxing fight”


    Jackson/Tito is good clean goofy fun. I like it. But I wonder how hard they’ll try.

  6. The Gaijin says:

    This fight is an awesome PPV main event…in 2003.

    As of now it’s just inoffensive and semi-interesting as a “mega fight” we wanted to see 10 years ago. If they stack this card with Chandler x Alvarez II, Curran X Strauss and King Mo x Vegh (if Mo can get there) and maybe one other “high profile fight” with a free agent, I could see them getting some buzz and getting ~75k buys and calling it a “success”. Remember when Affliction got like 200k and it was a total disaster? Though I’m thinking the profits would be razor thin given the price tags on most of the guys I’ve mention.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      If they stack it, then who do they have to offer for their weekly show this upcoming season? That is the other problem. I know not too many of the fighters move the needle on the ratings, but I can’t see it helping things if King Mo, Michael Chandler, and Quinton Jackson are all going to fight on a PPV instead of the weekly show.

    • nottheface says:

      Affliction was a disaster because it only did 100k buys. At 200k they supposedly would have broke even.

      It’s a great fight… if was the fun, nostalgic-tinged co-main serving as the lead in for something like that Fedor vs Arlovski fight. But to build a card around it? Erp.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        If Viacom was serious about MMA…. And they looked at it as a LONG-TERM investment… Then Ortiz/Jackson would be a great fight for SpikeTV. It would get a solid rating and get more people to potentially watch the weekly show.

        But Bellator is likely losing money and Viacom needs to see if they can make some money on it NOW. Which is why it is on PPV.

        • nottheface says:

          Luke Thomas discussed this today, but I think there is a very real possibility that this has as much to do with future contract negotiations as it does with getting on ppv. If courts rule that a Bellator offer of ppv points is not a match for a UFC offer of ppv points than in the future they’ll never be able to retain any of their champs though their matching clauses.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          But that doesn’t tell the entire story.

          The Bellator Reality Show is a failure. The weekly live show can’t hold it’s own without a TNA lead-in. They are moving the show to Friday nights. That means Bellator MMA on SpikeTV has failed.

          What good is an Eddie Alvarez contract unless they are still in business? It isn’t.

          This is a last ditch effort to see if they can make money through a different model. And that model would be to use washed up UFC Fighters on PPV and then claim the Bellator on Friday nights as a way to justify the PPV path.

          Eddie Alvarez is just a small piece of it for them to justify these actions.

          Not to mention they are going to be losing Ben Askren most likely soon…. Either that or pay him a lot of money. They either lose champions or the cost of doing business is gonna go up (along with bad TV ratings). Something has to give.

        • nottheface says:

          No i agree, they are struggling. My point was going the impetus for going ahead with a ppv immediately instead of say early next year, might have as much to do with they way they are trying to retain fighters as it does with the need to make money.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Valid point.

          But what a risky business model to keep fighters. Yikes!

      • The Gaijin says: bad for some reason i thought it had done somewhere in the 175-200k. Just checked and it was 100k, which would make it total failure $ wise (counterprogrammed on free tv with Silva x Irvin, iirc) and the live gate wasn’t hot either…

        • nottheface says:

          I thought the gate was pretty solid for both the Affliction shows. $2 mil for the first (really $1.5 mil) and $1.5 for the second. Especially when you consider the fact that only 9 non-UFC cards have ever done over a $1 mil at the gate in North America. Pride twice, both Affliction twice, and five Strikeforce cards. Of course, Fedor was on 6 of those 9.

    • RST says:

      If they did an Affliction move, and just get EVERY known and exciting guy they’ve got onto the same card, that could be something. I believe fightlinker said something about Affliction 1 being the only non Pride MMA PPV to break 100,000.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    Bellator once again failed to make the Top 100 cable shows in the 18-49 demographic.

    That has to be seen as a complete failure. Of Bellator’s Top 4 guys who have already fought for them…. King Mo, Ben Askren, Michael Chandler, & Pat Curran…. This show featured THREE of their Top 4 guys. And it couldn’t even make a blimp on the radar.

    Now you can see why they are going to Quinton Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz route…

    • david m says:

      There is no better way to get eyes on their product than through putting Tito and Rampage on. Who else in the promotion has the name to get asses in seats or eyes on screens? Guys remain draws long after their actual fighting ability has faded.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        You are right. If they put them on SpikeTV, they would get eyeballs. But they are going to charge $40 or more for people to see them.

        And they are going to take King Mo, Chandler, & Curran…. At least 1 or 2 of them and put them on the PPV. And they are going to lose Ben Askren to the UFC.

        What are they left with for the weekly telecast? Not much. How do you draw eyeballs on a Friday night with a bunch of no name 2nd tier fighters? It’s going to do worse then ESPN Friday Night Fights.

        And Bellator last night did 679,000 viewers. It couldn’t even break 700,000 viewers with 3 of it’s top “stars”. Yikes!!

        Unless the PPV makes a huge profit (which I don’t think it will)…. Bellator could be gone as early as the end of this year. My guess is they will still try one more season after that and be done by April of 2014, but I could easily see it being gone by the end of this year.

      • david m says:

        I frankly don’t think there is enough quality product in mma to justify a weekly show of fights. I think it is a bad idea. It isn’t like WWF where stars can work all the time.

        I don’t think Bellator will have much success on ppv because UFC has become mma, but if any main event outside of the UFC can draw, it is Tito v Rampage (unless Mike Tyson and Kurt Angle agree to fight).

  8. Zach Arnold says:

    679,000 viewers for Bellator last night… all these Bellator broadcasts airing at random times, on different days, it is just a killer…

  9. RST says:

    I dont know much about Bellator, but they seem to run often and whenever they feel like it. Which gave me the idea that they might be able to get all their best guys together on one night if they had to.


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