Things are starting to get interesting as Bellator begins to further prove their status as the clear cut number two MMA promotion in the world. Ever since WME-IMG acquiring the UFC last summer, it’s become very evident that things have changed within the organization. On the surface things have remained relatively similar to the shows we’ve seen in the past. But behind the scenes it seems that things have taken a major dip.
Fighters have seen the four billion dollar price tag and have come to the conclusion that remaining with the promotion should equal more dollar signs. If they feel like contracts aren’t up to standard then they’re happy to pack their bags and head to other promotions, namely Bellator MMA. It reported that Lorenz Larkin signed a deal with Bellator in favor of the UFC. A recent interview reveals that even more than the money, respect was a major factor in his decision making. The UFC gave him an offer that was less than adequate. Larkin said as much in his interview on The MMA Hour.
“I didn’t even get an offer from [the UFC] until maybe two-and-a-half weeks ago, something like that, maybe a little bit more,” said Larkin.
“I felt like, personally, it was just kinda a take it or leave it (type of offer) and that’s it. To me, there was no welcoming. It was just like, it is what it is; if not, then okay. And that’s what I felt like. I’m not in this sport just to take whatever. I feel like I’ve fought my way to where I’m at now and it’s just one of those things where it can’t be like that. I can’t just be one superpower and that’s it. And luckily I’m in this sport at a time where it’s starting to not be like that anymore.”
It’s clear that at this point in the game the promotion can’t pull the wool over fighter’s eyes. These day are more savvy than they’ve ever been. On the heels of the Larkin’s signing, a fellow top flight UFC contender has followed suit and has signed on the dotted line to join the ranks of Bellator MMA. Ryan “Darth” Bader has joined the ranks of the defacto second best MMA promotion.
Bader explained that he signed a six-fight deal with the promotion which ensures a full fight purse rather than the show and win contract the UFC usually offers. “I think it’s one of the better contracts out there, outside of being a UFC champion with pay-per-view points and stuff like that,” said Bader. From the sounds of it, this is the kind of contract that puts a fighter first rather than making them one of a bunch of faceless employees.
I’ve highlighted the fact that the UFC needs to continue to treat all of their fighters with respect and grace or risk seeing the promotion eventually becoming a laughing stock. Sure, there are still plenty of amazingly talented fighters that are apart of the UFC roster, but when you consider that one of the promotions top welterweight and light heavyweight contenders have left for what they believe to be greener pastures, the top brass should definitely be worried.
Albert Tumenov has left, Nikita Krylov is no longer apart of the organization. Even top light heavyweight prospect Misha Cirkunov, undefeated in the UFC, had a difficult time coming to terms with the promotion after destroying every one of his opponents. These are all extremely negative signs that need to be taken under consideration. If things continue this way, then you can say goodbye to the UFC you’ve come to know and love.
Will Bellator become the new top promotion in MMA?
Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.
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