Women’s MMA set to take over Bellator in effort to create viable alternative to UFC’s Ronda Rousey show.
Ever since Scott Coker’s inception as the new Bellator MMA CEO, big changes have been imminent for the promotion.
Just recently, Coker announced Bellator would ditch the weekly TV style format the company has been used to in favour of 16 events in 2015 which will follow a monthly pattern similar to Strikeforce.
Arguably the biggest implementation of Coker, is bringing women’s MMA back to Bellator, after it was seemingly ditched by former CEO Bjorn Rebney in 2013. The three women who were released: Jessica Eye, Felice Herrig and Jessica Aguilar, are all now prominent UFC talents.
Coker it seems has been working tirelessly to reinvigorate and reimplement WMMA back into Bellator, after recently announcing three signings: Marloes Coenen, Julia Budd and Talita Nogueira.
So what’s the difference between Bellator, UFC and even Invicta FC? Well, firstly, Bellator will employ the women’s Featherweight division, a weight class higher than UFC’s Bantamweight Rousey division.
Both Budd and Coenen are considered veterans of women’s MMA with 27 wins between the pair.
Coenen the former Strikeforce Bantamweight champion recently lost to Cris Cyborg for the inaugural Invicta Featherweight strap, maker her jump to Bellator a logical choice. Budd remains undefeated at Featherweight and is another sound addition to the new division.
Their counterpart, the undefeated Brazilian prodigy Talita Nogueira, is highly regarded as one of the biggest Featherweight prospects on the planet.
Since landing in the UFC early last year, women’s MMA has pretty much been the Ronda Rousey show as she has dominated every competitor put in front of her at Bantamweight. The UFC are looking to expand and capitalise on WMMA, with the latest The Ultimate Fighter season in place to crown the UFC’s first Strawweight champion.
It has been rumoured that Coker’s choice to go with the Featherweight division as opposed to the already established Bantamweight is simple. As a viable alternative. Coker is a smart businessman, he knows that if a female athlete is given the choice to fight at Bantamweight in Bellator or the UFC, it’s a no-brainer.
Wait, come to think of it, there may be another reason? Two of the hottest name Featherweights on the planet, Gina Carano and Cristiane Justino (Cris Cyborg). Obviously there have been key talks held between the Carano camp and Dana White, however the MMA fighter turned movie star may favour a stint at her natural weight class in Bellator.
As for Cyborg, we all know Dana isn’t her biggest fan, and despite electing to stay in Invicta amidst hopes of winning a UFC spot, a switch to Bellator may favour the Brazilian in the long run.
One question for Coker’s new regime will be whether they can make a success out of women’s MMA in Bellator. It was Coker’s vision which helped WMMA get off the ground in Strikeforce and he will be looking to do the same in Bellator.
Realistically, the biggest question will be whether or not Coker can create the next Ronda Rousey, because let’s face it, without a true face to represent women’s MMA in Bellator, the new division may struggle to flourish without a true object of super-stardom thrust behind it.