Has Bellator MMA Bridged the Gap Between the UFC?

Published 12/28/2020, 7:00 AM EST


The UFC as a promotion has been around for over two decades. What started out as a no-holds-barred exhibition between fighters has turned into a multi-billion dollar business. 

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The Fertitta brothers and Dana White have been responsible for establishing the UFC as a prominent figure in MMA. After buying over the company from the original owners, White and the Fertitta brothers had a gargantuan task ahead of them. They had to legalize the sport in different states and change the public perception of MMA among other challenges. 

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However, the UFC was one of, if not the first promotion in MMA. The first movers’ advantage has played a big role in the UFC, establishing itself as the premier organization for MMA. 

However, as with every area of business, in a free-market, competition is inevitable. Therefore, it is no surprise that Dana White and his team have their fair share of competition. PFL, ONE Championship, Bellator MMA to name a few. 

Among the aforementioned organizations, Bellator is arguably the biggest threat to the promotion. Headed by Scott Coker and backed by ViacomCBS, the organization has been gaining a lot of traction recently. It has been able to sway multiple fighters away from the UFC. 

Bjorn Rebney started Bellator in 2008. ViacomCBS a diversified multinational mass media conglomerate acquired a majority stake in 2011. Headed by Scott Coker since 2014, the promotion has been closing the gap between it and the UFC over the last few years.

Read: Dana White dismisses threats from rivals like Bellator MMA

Is Bellator really giving a tough competition to the UFC?

Over the last few months alone, Bellator has been able to lure away the likes of Yoel Romero, Corey Anderson, Anthony Johnson, among others from its rival promotion. These signings did shock a lot of fans, and questions were being raised if Bellator was starting to get bigger than its adversary. 

However, that is not the case. For starters, the aforementioned fighters, albeit top fighters in their respective divisions, were never champions. Critics theorize that fighters who are “done” in the UFC move to Bellator for a few big paydays before calling it quits. This is not absurd, given that Bellator has not been able to lure away a sitting champion from the UFC. 

The competition in the UFC and the aura of being a UFC fighter is something that fighters strive for since day one. 

Being in the UFC and becoming a champion is the ultimate goal for most fighters, and this can be attributed to the fact that the UFC started first and has done an excellent job of marketing themselves.  

Another factor that sees the promotion remain a level above its competition is Dana White. The UFC head honcho is a shrewd businessman who has been there since day one and knows the business better than most people. 

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The way Dana White handled the pandemic and continued to put on fights way before Bellator is another example as to why the UFC is held in such high regard.  

Though Bellator is closing the gap between them and the UFC. Scott Coker and his team are still a long way away from being the premier promotion in MMA. Whether they topple the UFC remains to be seen. But, it looks unlikely at the moment. 

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Do you think the Bellator is overshadowing the UFC? Can Bellator topple the UFC as the premier promotion in MMA in the near future? Let us know in the comments below!

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Kevin Binoy

830 articles

Kevin Binoy is an MMA author at EssentiallySports. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Fergusson College and has been covering sports professionally for over two years. Besides working with the MMA writing team, Kevin is a core member of the organization's web stories team and is responsible for delivering engaging MMA web stories.

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