MMA: Under the Tree

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It’s the holiday season this year, and there are only a precious few shopping days left before the Christmas holiday- a holiday which has its many traditions, gift-giving chiefly among them.

What’s Under the MMA Tree?

While Santa Claus and his elves are busy with their final preparations before making that worldwide trek this Friday night, for the next few minutes, I’ll be your Santa for the day, as I take a look at what MMA fans have under the Christmas tree here in 2021.

So, get those cookies out of the oven, put on your favorite Christmas carol, and pass that fruitcake to your sister-in-law because it’s time to look under the tree.

Let’s get started– and try not to make a peep– as there’s a chance we could get caught looking under the tree for presents before Christmas.

I won’t tell if you won’t tell.

I think I know what this first present is already. Let’s see:

To: Bellator MMA Fans Across America. From: Showtime.

Back in February, the Showtime premium cable network and Bellator MMA came to an agreement to air cards from the promotion effective with the April 2 Bellator 255 event, an agreement keeping Bellator on the airwaves of its parent company, ViacomCBS, for years to come.

In addition, Bellator on Showtime has also seen the promotion return to holding its events in its classic Friday night timeslot, after holding most of its late 2020 events on Thursday evenings over the airwaves of its previous television partner, CBS Sports Network.

Bellator has been part of the ViacomCBS family since 2011, when MTV2 and the promotion agreed to carry events on MTV’s sister station– and at the end of that calendar year, Viacom became the majority owner of Bellator.

Needless to say, this one is a gift that will keep on giving for some time.

Let’s have a look at the next present.

There’s a notice on this one:

To: Francis Ngannou or Ciryl Gane. From: The UFC

(DO NOT OPEN UNTIL JAN. 22, 2022.)

On Jan. 22, the UFC’s second live event of the new year and first pay-per-view event of the new year, UFC 270, will emanate from Anaheim’s Honda Center, featuring a main event to unify the UFC’s Heavyweight Championship between champion Francis Ngannou (16-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC)and interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC), a five-round fight at five minutes per round.

Back in August at UFC 265 in Houston, Gane captured the interim strap at 265 lbs. against challenger Derrick Lewis, but it was not a fight without its share of controversy in the run-up to the card.

Despite Ngannou wanting to defend the permanent heavyweight championship in the second half of 2021, UFC President Dana White instead ordered the Gane/Lewis tilt for UFC 265 this past summer, with Ngannou’s agent calling the interim championship bout “a complete shock.”

Although it may be the first PPV card of 2022 from the UFC, this night’s main event could very well be fight of the year by the time we take inventory on 2022 in MMA 12 months from right now.

An added storyline: The UFC 270 main event for the heavyweight title is also Ngannou’s last fight on his current contract– and Dana White is uncertain regarding the champ’s future in the promotion past this bout, saying on Tuesday:

“If you want to be with us, we’d love to have you. If you don’t want to be with us, no problem. It’s all good.”

Consider the plot thickened for Jan. 22, and with this extra dab of bulletin board material from the most powerful man in MMA, the UFC 270 main event is going to be a fight that’s assuredly worth waiting for.

There are still a couple of presents yet to open, so let’s keep going:

To: UFC Fight Pass and Its Subscribers. From: Anthony Pettis.

Santa gave UFC Fight Pass subscribers a new promotion to watch.

Former UFC stalwart and current PFL lightweight Anthony Pettis is embarking on a journey that will see him go to the promoter’s side of MMA with the new Showtime Fighting Championship, joining the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov, who will oversee Eagle Fighting Championship.

At press time, not much is known about Showtime Fighting Championship, other than it was slated to hold its debut event last October before being scrubbed in advance of its planned date.

No concrete details about Showtime FC 1, such as its host venue, date, or even fighters booked to appear on the card, are known at the moment.

Whenever a date and venue is definitively known for Showtime FC 1 in 2022, Overtime Heroics will let you know, so stay tuned for any further updates, but it looks as though this could very well be a promotion worth watching.

We have one last gift to open, so let’s see what it is. Hmm, this box appears to be empty.

To: Combat Sports Fans Who Buy Jake Paul Pay-Per-Views. From: An Avid Combat Sports Fan. (For: Your Own Good)

(Editor’s Note: The following views expressed don’t reflect those of Overtime Heroics.)

Finally this Christmas, Santa has given a faction of combat sports fans what they need the most this year in the wake of YouTuber Jake Paul’s rising boxing career:

A clear conscience.

Why on Earth do people who carve out the time to watch Jake Paul fight in boxing main events against MMA fighters when they know full well that Paul has a good shot at winning the fight?

He fought Ben Askren back in March, scoring the first-round knockout one second shy of two minutes into the fight (later confessing that Paul had good chops inside the squared circle), and he fought Tyron Woodley twice to end 2021, most recently on Dec. 18, scoring a sixth-round knockout to take the rematch.

When celebrities, such as Jake Paul, try their hand at boxing, it is an insult to the sweet science.

It is an insult to true fighters.

It is when boxing ceases to be boxing and becomes sports entertainment.

It’s not supposed to be WWE, nor is it supposed to be AEW, it’s supposed to be boxing.

To anyone who is thinking about buying Jake Paul’s next fight, if it does, indeed, happen to be on pay-per-view, why are you even entertaining this idea?

You’d be much better off watching any MMA show or any boxing card with a legitimate boxer, such as Canelo Alvarez.

Don’t buy a Jake Paul pay-per-view, because it’s just like buying WrestleMania.

Happy Holidays!

From all of us here at Overtime Heroics, please have a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season this year, and may you have good fortune in the new year to come.

Follow me on Twitter at @DrewZuhosky to see my latest work. Follow us on social media at @OTHeroicsMMA to stay tuned in with our content! Please visit our web page to keep up with everything MMA!

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about MMA since the spring of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.