I have been giving this particular topic a lot of thought recently, and I can't really pinpoint when, why, or where in my MMA timeline I began to cheer for WSOF and also begin my distaste for the Bellator brand which admittedly I am not too sure I ever even really liked...
I came up with a few reasons that COULD be the cause for my hope that WSOF becomes a Strikeforce type of competitor. Gauging from the community itself I can see that most of us silently cheer for WSOF while turning a blind side to any positives Bellator may be putting together, so I wanted to make sure that what I listed here is genuine and more... matter of fact:
1). Bjorn Rebney can come off as a sneaky scumbag type of dude. Now in his defense, I don't know him personally, and I don't even know what kind of strings may be pulling on him that may make him pull off the stunts he does like the whole Eddie Alvarez situation, the calling for a Askren title fight (although I already said he sees his window closing on this one and is just trying to get in on anything he can here), the whole interim belt for LHW while his real champ was cleared months ago. Wow, and that isn't even it .. I can still name more instances where he just leaves a bad taste. I guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree aye? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zSWUWPx2VeQ (Oh and if you didn't already know .. yea, Winnebago man is his father).
2). The blatant copy of the UFC in many regards yet still trash the UFC at every opportunity. This one is self explanatory. It started with the whole contract thing where they were stealing secrets and copying their contracts, then getting on Spike (even the fox deportes deal is like ehh), the TV show ... man .. but that's not all. They put down the UFC every chance they get... The most petty example and just outright ridiculous is from the Bellator website .. within their code you find this..
3). The signing of all the UFC castoffs. Again, in their defense they never straight up said they wouldn't sign UFC guys, what Rebney said was that they would look at what was available and then make a decision, but tried real hard to make it sound like they weren't trying to sign UFC guys at all. The whole meme doesn't just come outta thin air. Just looking at their inaugural PPV you see that almost every fight includes a former UFC fighter. Its very cringey.
4). The contract situations. What else do I have to say? The thing is they probably wouldn't be so bad if they just learned to let go. I understand the UFC is in the driver seat with theirs so if they let a contract expire it was probably for good reason and have no incentive to try to match. They just let their fighters go. But it really isn't a good look for what Bellator has done with their fighters and their contracts. Poor Eddie has to go fight for them while he spent almost an entire year telling the to "F OFF!". That's gotta be freakin' awkward! That's like having your ex bug the shit out of you for an entire year to get back together with you and even though you REALLY don't want too, you give her a shot only to find out all over again why you booked it in the first place.
Again, I can go on and on but I don't want this to sound like a "Down with Bellator" thread. They DO have some fun fights sometimes. They have our boy Ben "LETS MUTHERFUKERS" Saunders! They (sometimes) let their fighters fight for other orgs. & don't mind the co-promotion. They really do have their good traits, but I just haven't seen them capitalize on them. I want to see them BUILD on their positives not mess em up like readjusting their tournaments JUST so that Mo can get a belt and so on....
Then we have our underdog WSOF.
While the WSOF is FAR from being perfect and are still suffering massive growing pains (i.e. the cage mat being the wrong size and almost the cancellation of the entire event, or the tape falling off of the glove and revealing a UFC logo, to letting Arlovski get pounded out an additional what 5 seconds? because of a glitch), they have seem to come out looking like the lovable goofball cousin who may make a fool of himself but doesn't hide the fact that he is still trying to improve on himself.
The WSOF still have a lot of shows to put on to prove that they are indeed working on becoming better vs. plateauing. But from what I have seen so far I can say that I like where they are going. They don't hide the fact that they employ a ton of UFC castoffs. Hell they seem to embrace it! I get the same kind of feeling when they sign a former UFC fighter that I used to get from Strikeforce when they would sign a former UFC fighter. A feeling of optimism for them. I don't get that with Bellator. They aren't in the news right after an incident like Palhares saying "we don't want him either!", no.. they stay quiet and go about their business and if they want to sign him they will.
I guess the bottom line for me is that they simply aren't trying too hard. They just are the WSOF. NOT "Where Fighters Become Warriors" NOT "Home to the toughest (anything)",
NOT "the # 2 MMA promotion in the world",
But for me.... that is exactly why they ARE.