This week Bellator Fighting Championships kicked off its 2nd season down here in So. Florida, and once again I was able to attend the festivities. Well, maybe I’m getting a little carried away by using the word festivities.
On Wednesday I attended the weigh-ins. I’d only been to one weigh-in event before and that was at Strikeforce: Miami, and compared to those the Bellator weigh-ins seemed like amateur hour. Upon walking into the venue the weigh-ins were being held in (a separate, smaller venue from where the fights were held) I couldn’t help but notice the small number of people that were in the room. I’m guessing that there were no more than 100 to 150 people there and that’s being generous. I would also be willing to bet that I was the only "fan" there. Everyone else seemed to either be Hard Rock staff, Bellator Staff, fight camps, or media. I’m guessing this is because (to the best of my knowledge) that a press release regarding the when & where of the weigh-ins wasn’t released until the day of (April 7th). The only reason I was able to find out about them was because I called Bellator’s offices in Chicago to inquire about them the day before. When I asked the person who gave me the info if they were planning on announcing the time of the weigh-ins, they said "We probably will today sometime." The cool points about the weigh-ins were that I got to meet Scott Jorgensen, Brock Larson, and got Roger Huerta to pose in a picture for me.
I also saw Ken "The Pav" Pavia who my girlfriend at first glance thought was Patton Oswald. Weather seeing him was cool or not, I’ll leave that up for you to decide.
Thursday was the day of the event. Judging from when I arrived at the Hard Rock around 6pm, it seemed like the event might get a decent size crowd. Being that there was quite a bit of people hanging out in front of the Hard Rock Live. I go and eat, and when I come back to the venue at about 6:58pm (undercard started at 7pm), the crowd out front had died down so I assumed the majority of the people that went outside had went in.
Once I got in and entered the arena where my section was, the whole place looked dead. As the fights went on, the venue filled up some but there was no way that the place was even at 50% capacity at any given time. There were just so many empty seats in all sections. I don’t know how it appeared on television, but attendance wise it didn’t look pretty live. However, there were enough people to conjure noticeable "Boo’s" when they felt the action wasn’t up to their standards. The venue also had it’s fair share of attractive women, all of which I’m sure possessed a vast amount of MMA knowledge so abundant that I’d be willing to bet they would make the average hardcore fan feel like Jared Shaw. I guess one benefit of the venue not being at capacity was that there were not as many TapOut/Affliction/Jersey Shore Mafia running around.
As far as the fights go, my opinion is that overall they were fair at best. The Georgi Karakhanyan/Bao Quach fight was by far the most entertaining fight of the night. The Huerta vs Hinton fight had a few entertaining moments, but I found that fight to be lacking. Frankly, I think Huerta should have been able to finish that fight a lot quicker being that he was the better, more experienced fighter. They actually had two more non-tournament fights take place after the televised portion of the event ended. How they ended: I have no idea since I left after the Vaneir/Duarte fight.
And I guess some dude who’s last name is Rourke who played a wrestler in a movie was there in attendance. They didn’t even announce it, at least while I was there.
Overall I wasn’t that impressed with this Bellator event. For a promotion that seemed to be promoting itself the right way leading up to this season, the overall experience seemed to be completely lacking and left me wanting more. I’m pretty glad I only paid $35 for my ticket (I’m guessing some might argue that itself was too much). The next show they plan on having at the Hard Rock is on June 10th and the only way I plan on going is if that card is pretty stacked.
Thats my take on Bellator XIII.