The Bellator MMA Featherweight Grand Prix was going strong before sports events were canceled across the globe. It will decide the Featherweight champion of Bellator and has already had a dramatic start. A lot of tournaments seem pointless when a champion seems unbeatable at the time, but it is rare that Bellator does anything without an exciting consequence in mind.
Understand that this tournament includes some of the top talents in the western hemisphere. Even better, there are both veterans and surging prospects in this tournament. But the most interesting part of the Grand Prix is that the champion has entered the bracket along with the other contenders. To many this may seem very similar to other sports.
The NCAA has, “defending champions” enter the March Madness tournament every year. The announcers like to refer to them as the, “defending champs” but we all know that seasons in team sports start with a clean slate. The champion, Patricio Pitbull will continue to defend his belt in every round of the tournament if and when he advances to the final rounds. Sports fans are very much used to a hierarchy in combat sports. Usually the champion sits and waits on the contenders to earn an opportunity to fight him or her. There is nothing wrong with that. This alternative however is beneficial to everyone for a few reasons.
First, the champion will still get paid as the tournament is settled. When and if they win, there should be no impatience about when their next defense will be. This bracket-style is a thorough demonstration of who’s really the best at Featherweight right now.
Grand Prix Selection Show
Before this all began, the fighters participated in the Bellator MMA Featherweight World Grand Prix selection show. The show began with seven of the eight fighters deciding what time of the year they wanted to compete, in the first round. Last but not least was Patricio Pitbull, who was able to replace any fighter already on the board. The champ gets perks, the fair is fair. Pitbull began his selection by asking who wanted to fight him in the first round, and more than half the bracket stood up to call out the champ.
Pitbull quickly chose Pedro Carvalho, who was originally slated to fight Darrion Caldwell. Caldwell was instead assigned to Borics. While Borics would have been in for the fight of his life, he had a better shot at defeating Pitbull than Caldwell, who submitted Borics with relatively no problem. After the cancelations, the champ never ended up fighting Carvalho in a bout scheduled for Friday March 13th.
This was the last scheduled bout for the quarter-finals. While the cancelation was best for public health, fans are now itching for this tournament to move forward. Tragically the next Bellator event is not scheduled to take place until October 3rd.
On top of the belt, the winner will earn $1,000,000. Martial arts are about respect and competition. However, this big check is what prizefighting is all about. The Bellator Grand Prix winner will be dripping in gold and money. The payday for the final is more than most UFC champions will ever get close to making in one night, and sometimes even after three fights.
On the left side of the bracket, AJ McKee and Darrion Caldwell will play combat chess for their spot in the Grand Prix finals. While I can hardly contain myself just thinking about it, fans shouldn’t expect a war between those two. It will be intense, and the first to make a mistake will get finished. But first, Pitbull has some business to take care of.
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