Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney hears your gripes and has devised a solution. More tournaments.
In the wake of Bellator Fighting Championships' ongoing crusade to end the non-title "super fights" intended to keep champions busy while a contender is crowned, Rebney announced a fifth tournament likely to be added to Bellator's upcoming sixth-season.
"I'm hopeful we can put one more weight division into that season," Rebney said to MMA Junkie. "And figure out from a timing perspective how to do five tournaments instead of four."
Thus far season-six is slated for eight-man featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and middleweight tournaments. The recently concluded fifth season featured bantamweight, welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight participants.
The tournament format has proven to be a popular draw throughout Bellator's three-year rise to prominence. However, the inherent nature of the format leads to prolonged sessions of irrelevance for champions forced to wait on the conclusion of a 12-week season before receiving an opponent.
Promotion officials have attempted to remedy the situation with tepid, non-title affairs -- such as middleweight king Hector Lomard's recent catchweight bout with 39-year-old Trevor Prangley -- but have been met with lackluster, and sometimes even disastrous results. In late October, light heavyweight champion Christian M'Pumbu dropped a unanimous decision to longtime journeyman Travis Wiuff, staining the legitimacy of his belt in the process.
However Rebney has made it clear that situations like M'Pumbu's are eventually going to be a figment of the past.
"The way we'll eliminate the super fights is we will do more tournaments per season and get a quicker turnaround and a turnover for world title fights for our existing champions," Rebney explained. "It's not a complicated process. It's just having more tournaments running simultaneously so that there's a quicker turnover and a shorter period of time between the end of one season and the beginning of another.
"It's just a matter of doing more tournaments."