Bellator recently announced bold plans to stage its first-ever pay-per-view (PPV) event, which is scheduled to take place at Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in Long Beach, Calif., on Nov. 2, 2013.
Bellator 106: "Rampage vs. Tito" will feature a main event between former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champions, Quinton Jackson and Tito Ortiz, with the rest of the card to be determined; however, company CEO, Bjorn Rebney, promised that it would be "loaded" with its best talent, which includes division leaders such as Pat Curran and Michael Chandler, among others.
In fact, Rebney all but guaranteed at yesterday's media conference (watch it here) that the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion would put its best foot forward. And that a "perfect storm" of sorts was the genesis for the PPV debut, beginning with the availability of the stars of the show.
"This is our first foray into this marketplace..... I know what's coming up over the next six weeks in terms of the other fights that are going to fill out this card, which are epic. I think it will do well. I always look at it from a simple scratch and sniff perspective: I sit around with my goofy buddies who I have been watching fights with the
last 19 years and I say, 'Would you buy it? Is this something you would pay for? Would you watch it?' It's a simple scratch and sniff market analysis, but it works very well. I think it will do well.... We're going to have a
lot of title fights on this show -- it will be a long PPV.... There is a lot of meat on the bone in terms of title fights
for us right now."
Quinton Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz is certainly an intriguing match up if for nothing else than the name recognition. It's hard to argue that there was much -- if any -- fan interest in watching two past-their-prime veterans put aside their friendship for 15 minutes of over-the-hill action.
In fact, Jackson is in the midst of a three-fight losing skid two years in the making, while Ortiz has just one win (Ryan Bader) in his last nine appearances, dating all the way back to 2006.
Regardless, Rebney suggests its an "epic" match up:
"I just kind of took off the CEO hat and put on the fan hat and was like, of the epic battles that I wanted to see -- and never got a chance to see -- what was No. 1 on my list? And Rampage vs. Tito was No. 1 on the list of great fights that I never got to see."
So what's it going to cost?
Rebney detailed that the PPV cost will vary depending on the distributor, as well as the geographic location. He provided a range of $35 to $45 and was confident that the price tag would likely not exceed $50, an expensive threshold that even UFC has yet to surpass with its non-high definition premium broadcasts.
It's a formula that he intends to leave up to the experts:
"Price points will vary on the distributor -- we'll have a $35 price point, some $40 and some of the distributors might push it up to $45. It will be distributor-specific based on where they are located throughout the country. That's because they know, it's very much like our relationships with our fighters. They're the experts in the field,
they know what their different consumer base is going to withstand for a certain fight or a certain event. So, we leave it more in the hands of the distributors to make that determination as opposed to mandating them or directing them as to what it would be at one singular price point. There are different markets, which are hot beds of mixed martial arts that have show a propensity to buy huge numbers. There are others that don't quite buy as much that we want to fertilize and get it to be a better MMA market. We've left it in the hands of the distributors to make some of those determinations. There is a very high likelihood we won't exceed the $50 price point."
Bellator, at least according to Rebney, is not about to dive into the PPV deep end. On the contrary, it's just a toe-dip that could lead to future events, but for now, "Rampage vs. Ortiz" is a one-off until the PPV results are tallied and the "stars" align once again.
That's because the promotion, which implements a tournament-style "season" format that now airs on Spike TV, does not have the luxury of a star-studded roster. And even if it did, Rebney suggests that he wouldn't lock-in to doing a monthly PPV event just for the sake of doing a monthly PPV event.
Timing, he says, is everything:
"You're going to see more of this, but you won't see it every day. We're not going to crown a champion this way, you 'll see more of this as we continue to grown and continue to evolve.... If there is another huge fan that as an MMA fan you're like, 'Whoa! I need to watch that,' we would probably jump back into the PPV arena. But, it's not going to be one of those types of things where every single month -- do or die -- we keep putting it out same time, same place, same channel where we don't necessarily have the fighters to fuel it the way that a premium purchase should be fueled. We'll get back into it when the timing is right and we've got the right fighters. PPV's are about great fights between great fighters. It's not about just sending it out there on a monthly basis and give me $45 or $50 of your hard-earned money. We'll be back in it when the time is right to be back in it."
Is the time for Bellator 106: "Rampage vs. Tito" -- and the cost to watch it -- right for you on Nov. 2, Maniacs?