Eddie Alvarez OUT; Bellator Pay-Per-View To Go On
By Contributing Writer, Brandon Stubbs
Bellator MMA is attempting to put on a pay-per-view event once again. Just like the first attempt, the second attempt is turning in to a mess. According to a report on Sherdorg.com late Friday evening, pay-per-view headliner and lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez pulled out of was out of his title defense against Mike Chandler due to a two week old concussion he suffered while wrestling during his training camp.
Bellator President Bjorn Rebney did not confirm the report during this past Friday’s show on Spike TV nor did he mention it during the post fight press conference as word had spread among media members in attendance. It wasn’t until the following day during a conference call that Rebney confirmed the news that Alvarez was out but the pay-per-view would continue as planned Saturday, May 17th.
The reshaped card will now feature “King” Mo Lawal vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as the main event in a light-heavyweight title eliminator. Mike Chandler will remain on the card, but will now fight Will Brooks for the interim lightweight title as the night’s co-feature event. Rounding out the broadcast, Tito Ortiz vs. Alexander Shlemenko will clash in a light-heavyweight special attraction bout.
The revamped card marks the second time Bellator’s pay-per-view plans have been shifted. In November 2013, their first attempt at a pay-per-view event fell apart after headliner Tito Ortiz suffered a neck injury resulting in the card being moved to Spike TV.
Whether or not the card is on pay-per-view or regular TV, it’s success is questionable. First the event is being held in Southaven, MS (ten minutes south of downtown Memphis, TN). Needless to say this area is not a “hot bed” for MMA action and the poor ticket sells are a clear indicator. Initial reports say as little as around 800-900 tickets sold (Bjorn stated over the weekend “around 70% capacity full”). We shall see how full the arena is Saturday night and wait for gate information from Mississippi State Alethic Commission.
At this point, this event’s success or failure isn’t a make or break situation for Bellator.
“But whether or not it’s a huge success – and I believe it will be successful because we’ve done a tremendous amount of promotion and we’ve got a great card – but if it doesn’t live up to everybody’s expectations, Bellator is not going anywhere. Bellator is on Spike. It’s doing fine. It’s doing great. We’re happy.” Said Spike TV President Kevin Kay. “We’re all going to look at the pay-per-view and say, ‘was it a success or was it not a success? What can we learn from it? What can we do better next time?”
Brandon Stubbs is a regular contributor to BadCulture.net and TheTitleFight.com. You can catch his MMA themed show ‘Punch 2 The Face Radio’ Wednesday nights on the BadCulture Radio Network on Wednesday nights at 8PM CT. Follow Brandon on twitter: @punch_2theface.