The biggest rivalry currently in UKMMA is not between two fighters but instead between two feuding promotions. Cage Warriors vs Bellator.
It is still somewhat of a phoney war with much happening behind the scenes that we don’t see but there has been a couple of minor skirmishes between Cage Warriors CEO Graham Boylan and SBG coach John Kavanagh via Twitter on the merits that both promotions provide.
Today let’s look at what both shows bring to the table and how they stand in the current climate of UKMMA.
I will preface this by saying I have a very good relationship with Cage Warriors matchmaker Ian Dean and a lot of respect for Graham Boylan. On the other hand I feel due to me pestering Jude Samuel who heads up Bellator’s European talent relations for years to get me a fight on BAMMA perhaps doesn’t like me but I won’t let this cloud my view.
To start I think it’s best to look at as a fighter what show is the best to sign for? This involves a very multi faceted answer and depends on your end game. In recent years the goal for every fighter has been to get to the UFC, if this is still your aim I feel Cage Warriors has the best pathway to this goal. You just need to look at the amount of fighters they have now sent on the path to the UFC. It must be into the 20s or 30s.
However, due to the difficulty of getting into the UFC for UK guys is holding off for the UFC the be all and end all? We just have to look how long it took Brendan Loughnane to earn a UFC contract to realize how hard this task is. This makes Bellator a hugely appealing option. You would be fighting for the arguably the 2nd best promotion in the world, getting some very good exposure and fighting for money which dwarves that of any other show we have seen on these shores. Not too mention you will be fighting in giant arena shows on terrestrial TV.
Let’s have a look at both shows matchmaking. In my opinion Ian Dean has been the best matchmaker in Europe for the past ten years an I have no doubts about that. His matchmaking remains quality, he is performing admirably with his smaller roster. This smaller roster is where Jude Samuel comes in. Due to the purses Bellator now offer and many fighters wanting to go where the Benjamins are Jude has a huge roster at his disposal. He is taking full advantage of this and has been matching some incredible fights and is fast proving himself to be very adept in this field.
From a production stand point I prefer the feel of the Cage Warriors offering. I think there studio and commentary teams are very good at what they do with some very nice video packages thrown in. The Bellator product is decent but I feel it could be improved but we can’t blame the UK side of the operations for this as thy use the American feed but this could be something to look into for the future.
They’re both awesome shows that anyone should be honored to fight on! The only massive difference I seen between the two is that often quoted “violent money.” On both shows you are going to be involved in very tough fights but Bellator is going to better compensate a larger majority of fighters for these tough fights. Which will see them most likely pick up most free agents.