Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has no problem scooping up its competition when the situation calls for it. In fact, most of the past "competition" -- including PRIDE and Strikeforce -- were no match for the mixed martial arts (MMA) juggernaut.
And those who were not purchased, like EliteXC and Affliction, went away on their own.
So, would UFC President Dana White consider adding Bellator MMA to his growing portfolio? It's highly unlikely, according to comments he made at the UFC 168 media scrum in Brazil (video replay here), because the promotion holds "no value, whatsoever" despite having the backing of Viacom and Spike TV.
"People won't even watch it for free in the United States. They got $5 billion in cash behind them and you look at their numbers ... pretty pathetic. There's nothing there. If you look at any other company we ended up buying in the past, there was value. There's no value to that company, whatsoever. If you look at Pride, look at all the contracts we got from Pride, all the guys that came over. Look at the Pride library. Amazing library, with some of the most talented fighters of all times. When we bought WFA, we bought it because Rampage had a contract with them. When we bought Strikeforce, we bought their library. Just the fights we had with Nick Diaz alone, were worth buying that company."
To suggest Bellator MMA has "no value" is a bit misleading. While it may not get the return on investment required to make such a substantial purchase, the promotion, like any regional outfit, is a great place for fighters to compete who may not yet be ready to step foot onto the grandest stage of all.
You can't have the "big time" without the little time.
If "UFC-caliber fighter" is to mean something, then fans should not be subjected to bouts where combatants are still getting acclimated to bright lights and big cities, especially when they can cut their teeth over in Bellator. The counter argument to that, of course, is that once you sign with the Viacom-owned promotion, you may not get the opportunity to compete inside the Octagon.
Just ask this reigning UFC champion.