Bellator Fighting Championships, on the heels of a successful fifth season, is not content to rest on its laurels. The promotion's CEO, Bjorn Rebney, was a guest on Rear Naked Choke radio and spoke about the upcoming sixth season in 2012, revealing the next four tournaments.
"We're going to go 145, 155, 170 and 185 for sure, and they are just stacked from top to bottom. That's what we're going to get right out of the box and there is the potential for more during that season, but right now that is what we've got locked."
If you're a nostalgic fan of the promotion, 145, 155, 170 and 185 were the four key weight classes that Bellator was founded upon, and both the first and second seasons featured tournaments in those divisions.
Another interesting prospect is a bout between former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and Japanese submission ace, Shinya Aoki. While the bout has lost some of its luster since Alvarez was recently dethroned by Michael Chandler at Bellator 58 earlier this month, it's still a high profile fight that can draw some much needed attention to the promotion.
Rebney commented that there are still some roadblocks in the way of booking that fight:
"We had always known that the biggest impediment to scheduling would have been that Aoki was going to fight New Year's Eve. He is a huge draw for DREAM and he is a monster player in their New Year's Eve promotion. I would still like to do Aoki vs. Ed, which is an awesome fight and a great way for Ed to catapult his way back into that top-five conversations again."
One of the most important issues going forward for the promotion is building its own stars. If the Bellator champions and challengers can become more notable to the casual fans, it will become much easier to sell tickets and attract viewers to its programming. Rebney was both realistic and optimistic about the prospects.
"It's a marathon, not a sprint. The evolution of recognizability with fighters takes time, but we'll get there."
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Will the Alvarez vs. Aoki rematch ever be made? Will 2012 be Bellator's year?