Earlier this month World Series of Fighting (WSoF) matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz appeared on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour, and announced an audacious challenge to Bellator MMA.
WSofF is not yet ready for PPV, and Bellator's intial foray into it suffered a cracked spine, but Ali's idea is that a head to head match up between the two could earn money. And he proposed that the winner takes all.
While the idea sounds at first impression like a publicity stunt, there have been co-promotions in MMA, in both the US and in Japan. K-1 and DREAM co promoted Dynamite!! events, and Strikeforce and EliteXC have exchanged fighters. So the idea is not entirely outside the realm of possibility.
Bellator Bjorn Rebney has not responded, but AXS TV Fights CEO Andrew Simon told MMAjunkie Radio that if Bellator doesn't step up, ASX TV Fights would love to.
In fact, Simon has already pitched the idea to WSoF, suggesting that instead of a winner takes it all PPV where the all could be 0, the promotions instead do two league vs. league shows, with three fighters from each, one airing on WSOF’s NBC Sports Network, with the other on AXS TV Fights' AXS TV.
“They said, ‘Oooh, crap,’” said Simon. “They know it, too. It’s not something they would jump at, but we would do it in a second. Everybody likes to puff, but we’ve been doing this for more than a decade. We put more fighters into the UFC than any other organizations. We put more fighters that are in the top 5 of all the weight divisions, from Daniel Cormier to Vitor Belfort to Benson Henderson. They’ve all fought on our network.”
“I have guys from Pedro Munhoz to Holly Holm to Cris ‘Cyborg’. I am very confident our network could put five fighters against all their champions, and we would come out very well in that fight.”
“Our network is where the stars are born. These other guys, they take a lot of our fighters and put them over there (in WSOF), and our guys go back to the UFC."
“We’re grooming the next generation of fighters on AXS TV. All these other organizations are running around about how great they are and challenging each other. I talked to the folks from the World Series, and I told them our fighters across our board can take any of their fighters.”
“It’s very easy to do. The reality is everybody likes to think that the newest promotion should get the most press and that’s the greatest thing of all time, whereas you have promotions like Legacy FC, MFC and RFA making money that are building fighters. Everybody loves a promotion that comes out with a lot of marketing glitz and spends a lot of money. But it’s not a business. You can’t run a business that loses money in perpetuity. So we have built promotions that are built to last, and they’re building the best fighters in the world.
“I was starting to take insult that every other article I read on other websites is, ‘Wow, they have a new deal with this network,’ and they start writing about fighters who were on my network a month ago, and they didn’t want to write about it. Some websites focus, I believe, on who pay them to advertised on their website. That’s just my opinion.”
AXS Fights broadcasts events from a variety of promotions, including CFA, Legacy, Lion Fights, MFC, and RFA. How do you think the combined group would fare vs. WSoF?
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