I dunno if it was a media deke out or things fell apart, but the much rumored Rampage Jackson vs Roy Jones Jr fight failed to materialize last night, instead replaced by a much less freaky and impressive Rampage Jackson vs Tito Ortiz thing for November 2nd. The fight will headline Bellator’s first foray into Pay Per View and is a marked departure from the promotion’s formula of developing new names through tournaments.
But when you’re trying to get people to pay 50 bucks for something, sometimes you have to get a bit freaky. There’s not a lot of names outside of the UFC that you can put together that will gain people’s attention, and it’s still a big question whether Rampage vs Tito even qualifies. The two haven’t stood at the top of their game for a long time and have a combined record of 3-6 over the past three years, with many of those fights being stinkers.
But it’s not important what I think. What will the mainstream media and fans think? Will this fight tickle the interest of people who only tune in when Georges and Anderson and other big names fight? The ones whose knowledge doesn’t extend much past those and other names like Gracie and Shamrock?
There’s only been one non-UFC event in the history of the sport that’s managed to sell more than 100,000 PPVs, and that’s Affliction 1 featuring Fedor Emelianenko at his peak versus Tim Sylvia plus an undercard featuring every single unemployed name fighter the promotion could get its hands on. Will Bellator, with the help of Tito, Rampage, and Viacom’s mighty media empire, be able to do better?