Never say never.
While Bellator Fighting Championships lives off of the model "Where title shots are earned, not given," there are always exceptions. When a championship fight is extremely close, or perhaps deserves an immediate rematch, the promotion has stood its ground and stated that the fighter who came out on the losing end of the spectrum would have to do it all over again, three fights in three months to get another shot at the belt.
For a fighter like Jay Hieron, who lost a close split decision to Ben Askren in October of 2011, the inability to get an immediate rematch was the sticking point which resulted in him having his contract voided and eventually signing up with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) this year.
Bellator's response to the dilemma has finally been revealed.
In a letter to the fans from Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, the head honcho discusses his passion for mixed martial arts and the fact that he listens to the fans and the media. That's why Bellator will be including a championship rematch clause for the promotion's debut on Spike TV in 2013. Check out exactly what he had to say below:
"I am proud to announce that driven by your input; we will implement a championship fight rematch clause as we move into 2013 and our launch on Spike in January. When a fighter's earned a shot at the world title by winning The Toughest Tournament in Sports and competes in a title fight that knocks fans like us back in our seats (win or lose) delivering an incredible fight, when a rematch is called for, we will deliver it. Championship fights give us some of the greatest moments in MMA. And, re-matches of incredible championship fights will give fans like us more of those electrifying moments, while staying true to the world's best fighters having had to earn their way to those title shots."
The letter does not discuss the specifics on what types of fights would deserve an immediate rematch, but one would expect the Hieron-Aksren welterweight title fight would have been considered as well as the much-talked about lightweight title fight between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler last November, which garnered serious consideration for "Fight of the Year."
Perhaps a clause like this could be just what the doctor ordered to keep former champion Alvarez from bolting to the UFC like middleweight champion Hector Lombard.
What's your take on the change, Maniacs? Do you think it could make a difference in light of Alvarez's upcoming decision?