Rampage-Tito on first Bellator PPV
July 31, 2013
During Bellator’s live event Wednesday night, it was announced that Rampage Jackson would meet Tito Ortiz on Bellator’s first ever pay per view on November 2nd in Long Beach, California.
The announcement was somewhat of a surprise considering most had thought that Jackson would be boxing Roy Jones, Jr.
Via Bellator press release:
“To have two of the biggest names in MMA headline our first PPV is awesome,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “Rampage vs. Tito is a fight I’ve wanted to see for years and to have it as our Main Event on our first Pay-Per-View is a spectacular next step in Bellator’s evolution. They’re both re-energized, excited and ready for a war. This will be a great fight.”
“Honestly, I feel like I’ve been re-born.,” Jackson said. “My excitement, energy and aggression, it’s all back and bigger than ever. I feel like a kid again. The Rampage you’ll see Nov. 2ndwill be better than any Rampage you’ve ever seen. Everybody knows Tito and I have a very long history. He’s a former teammate and friend, and it’s one of the reasons I stayed away from the UFC as long as I did. But, I want to be very clear; any sort of friendship we once had doesn’t exist when that cage door shuts. I’ve got a ton to prove on November 2nd, and unfortunately for Tito he’s the guy I have to make an example of. He’s in my house now and Saturday, November 2nd on PPV, it’s going to be a horrible night for Tito Ortiz.”
“I’m back,” Ortiz stated. “Over the last few years, my passion for MMA was completely killed, dealing with UFC politics and with Dana. I didn’t have that drive to compete, my heart wasn’t in it. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m free. Bjorn and Bellator put together an opportunity that made me part of the promotion, part of the family. I feel like I can breathe again and my old friend is going to be on the receiving end of all that happiness turned into an old school Tito Ortiz ground and pound beating. I’ve fought and beaten the very best in MMA history and on Nov. 2nd, Rampage will be the next huge win on my record. This is a new era for the People’s Champion.”
Having Roy Jones, Jr. at ringside for the announcement added to the “swerve” that was announced. Ortiz had taken pictures that he had gone to the Bellator headquarters in Newport Beach, California so the possibility of a comeback in Bellator was plausible. Although both may be past their prime, the fight is a legitimate MMA fight and not a sideshow boxing match. Certainly something that Bellator/Viacom took into consideration. There was also the issue of the possibility that Jones KOs Rampage. What would Bellator/TNA do with Rampage then?
But for Bellator, this is as good a play as it can do to promote its PPV. It needed two big names in the world of MMA to market it. At this point, Askren, Lawal and Chandler are not known commodities outside of Bellator. But, we should expect all 3 (and my prediction Eddie Alvarez will be back to fight Chandler) to be on the PPV card. The hope will be that the 3 will be able to make name for themselves for future PPVs.