The Bellator Summer Series has been a bit of a disappointment. Created to find challengers in order to keep their champions busy on a more regular basis, the series hasn't exactly been well received by MMA fans. Moving away from the typical three round tournament format, fighters only have to win twice in order to receive a title shot.
Bellator 97 was advertised as a "stacked" event with two title fights, the finals for both the light heavyweight and heavyweight tournaments, as well as the announcement of Quinton Jackson's opponent for the promotions first attempt at pay-per-view (PPV).
Mike Chandler easily defended his lightweight strap when he decimated Dave Rickles with punches in the first. Ben Askren did his thing and earned himself a TKO victory in the process. And then there was the big reveal that it was Tito Ortiz and not Roy Jones Jr. that would be Jackson's opponent. All in all, it was a big night for the promotion.
The good news is that the promotion saw a bump in ratings from June's Bellator 96, which averaged 480,000 viewers when going up against the Stanley Cup finals. Unfortunately, the 687,000 average viewers is still well below the Season 8 low of 705,000 for Bellator 87.
One other positive for the night is that the show peaked during the Jackson/Ortiz announcement with 856,000 people tuning in to Spike TV.