The MMA world was stunned, shocked and awed by the cancellation of Bellator's November 2 pay-per-view due to an injury to superstar Tito Ortiz. UFC president Dana White felt their pain and let his feelings be known at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 30 post-fight press conference in Manchester, England:
"It's unfortunate. It breaks my heart. Couldn't happen to a better bunch of guys."
To say White has not enjoyed working with Bellator is a massive understatement. The promotion has been acquired by Viacom, the parent company of Spike TV which was the UFC's cable television home from 2005 to 2011. The UFC and Bellator have sniped at each other in the press and in the courtroom.
Most notably, Bellator took their former Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez to court based on their claims to have matched the UFC's contract offer. Despite Alvarez having been guaranteed an immediate UFC title shot against then-Lightweight-champ Benson Henderson and a percentage of the pay-per-view revenue, the courts accepted Bellator's claim that they would also be putting on a PPV featuring Alvarez and that their offer was a "match" for the UFC.
Alvarez settled with Bellator and will be fighting current Bellator champ Michael Chandler on November 2. The fight will be shown on Spike TV rather than on pay-per-view. Alvarez is reportedly locked into a deal whereby he will have to give a rematch to Chandler should he win on the 2nd. Chandler defeated Alvarez by
TKO submission in 2011. The UFC has said they would not be interested in Alvarez should he lose to Chandler again.
Bellator Welterweight champ Ben Askren is currently in the matching phase of his contract with Bellator and the UFC has not made him any offers. It is believed they are waiting out the matching period meaning Askren will be on the shelf for one of the peak years of his athletic ability.
The ill-will Bellator has created for itself with the fans over their treatment of fighters is not to be underestimated.
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