Luke Thomas postulates that Bellator’s debut this Fall on PPV may have more to do with the Eddie Alvarez lawsuit than anything else:
All of this is to say if the decision to stage this event now in this particular way doesn’t entirely compute, it’s because one can’t make sense of it without considering how significantly Eddie Alvarez’s case is forcing Bellator’s hand. Absent his situation, the value of Bellator’s push into pay-per-view is hard to understand.
With Alvarez as part of if not the context, however, the pieces began to fall in line. If he is able to extricate himself from his Bellator counter offer because a court decides pay-per-view offers, even if not guaranteed still count, how will they manage to hold on to their top talent when their contracts are up and the UFC comes calling? Bellator, it appears, needs to get into the pay-per-view space to prove they have some measure of viability there before Alvarez’s case is fully litigated. There is no other obvious benefit for the move into pay-per-view at this time, especially with Jackson vs. Ortiz as an inaugural headliner.
But there is risk there, too. What happens if Jackson, Ortiz and whoever else Bellator adds to the card fail to draw a sufficient buy rate? That, in and of itself, would damage their legal argument. Worse, there is no one else beyond Rampage, Ortiz and the organization’s existing top draws who could do any better. If they can’t get the job done for Bellator, who can?
How about Frank Shamrock vs Ken Shamrock? If Bellator’s plan is to anchor PPV events with fighters whose name recognition far outweighs any actual fighting relevancy, that match-up seems like a no-brainer. Frank is already working for Bellator and Ken obviously needs the cash. Add in that mystery project the two were talking about last month and it wouldn’t surprise me if the fight has already been tentatively set up.
But that’s neither here nor there (and possibly very tinfoil). The big question is how Bellator will perform on PPV and if it will help or hurt them in their quest to lowball fighters during matching periods. Even if it doesn’t, the fact that they held a PPV event at all helps them with the Eddie Alvarez case. Remember, the lawyer for Bellator told the judge in that case that the promotion had very real and immediate pay per view plans, something Alvarez claimed was total bullshit. They’ll certainly look better in court now with this show on record. How it will perform and what it will mean for Bellator’s future is something else all together.