Bellator MMA Fan Fest: “A Fist Full of Hall of Famers!”

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Combat Sports, UFC
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By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Hall of Fame Fighter and Mixed Martial Arts Pioneer Royce Gracie

Hall of Fame Fighter and Mixed Martial Arts Pioneer Royce Gracie

One way to make sure people show up for a fan fest is to fill the stage with UFC Hall of Famers. Of the 11 living enshrined fighters, five of them were signing autographs on Tuesday for Bellator MMA. The panel brought together by Scott Coker, was held at Dave and Busters in San Diego.

The event was not without an agenda as the November 15th PPV card headlined by Stephan Bonnar and Tito Ortiz was the obvious backdrop. Bonnar and Ortiz were joined by fellow UFC Hall of Famers Randy Couture, Royce Gracie, and Ken Shamrock.  King Mo Lawal and Michael Chandler were also on hand to sign autographs for fans and to provide sound bites for the press.

The trash talk between Bonnar and Ortiz continued albeit tame in nature. Bonnar referring to Ortiz as a “douche-bag” drew a few smiles, and a particular finger from Ortiz in response. Other than that the event went without incident as Coker intelligently put the onus on the fans.

Unlike the UFC, Bellator is lacking the loyal fan base that can sustain a PPV schedule. Allowing fans access through events like this offers them the emotional attachment to fighters that will lead to that fan base.

With Coker at the helm, Bellator MMA appears to be blazing a new path, one that refuses to be a little brother to anyone, and maybe that is what the sport needs. The landscape is littered with the graves of those who tried to be second. With Coker’s leadership and Viacom’s support this tank will keep rolling along slowly picking up steam.

 

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