Tito Ortiz Out – And So Is PurposePosted: October 28, 2013
Many pundits wondered what the purpose was when Bjorn Rebney, CEO of Bellator, announced the promotions first PPV card would feature aging MMA legends Tito Ortiz and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
There was a simple answer: hype and money. Whether these two fighters could headline a card was not the point. On a UFC card, they would struggle to even make a main card anymore on anything other than name. Therein lies the rub. Ortiz and Rampage never fought on an undercard in the UFC for a reason. Their brands were strong enough to merit their inclusion on any PPV because they would draw additional eyeballs.
As reported by Yahoo! Sports, there are certain factors which influence PPV buy rates. Ortiz and Rampage reside in three of them. Both are in a high weight class (light heavyweight) which traditionally draws more eyeballs. Both are supserstars (albeit over-the-hill ones). The fight would be marketed as a pseudo-grudge match because of their legacies and never having fought.
Simple. Clean. For a promotion like Bellator, it would surely have made a dent on a scale they could not replicate any other way.
Unfortunately, it now floats dead in the water. Ortiz suffered a neck injury in training and had to pull out. Compounding that issue is his history of spinal injuries which dates back to his I-Hate-Dana-White days. Few people will buy a PPV without Ortiz on the card. Rampage does not have a singular draw power no matter who he faced – it was always a package deal.
Bellator has yet to announce their intentions without the fight going.
UPDATE: Bellator has scrapped the PPV aspect of the card, instead moving it to Spike TV and promoting the Michael Chandler v. Eddie Alvarez title fight to headliner status.