Bellator MMA made some news on Wednesday night when they made the announcement that former UFC champions Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz would be facing off in the promotion’s inaugural pay-per view event.
Rampage vs. Ortiz was announced during the Bellator 97 broadcast and it is set to take place at the Long Beach Arena on November 2.
There was initially some belief that Jackson would face off against Roy Jones Jr. in a boxing match that would headline a pay-per view later this year. The rumor stated that Bellator would choose to go head-to-head with the UFC year-end show, but Jackson seems to think that was just one big rumor that got out of hand.
“Man, I’m happy to be back here on Spike TV,” Jackson said. “I’m training hard, man. I’m back motivated. I found my love for MMA again. Now I’m with a reputable company that knows how to treat their fighters. It’s on.
“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. There’s a lot of rumors out there. I don’t know how that one got so big. You know, I’m down to fight Roy. I’m a big fan of his, though. I’m a big fan. I’mma tell you: the only pair of Jordans, the first pair of J0rdans I ever bought, was ’cause Roy Jones had them on. You know what I’m saying? I’m a big fan of that man. He’s from the South, I’m from the South. He’s one of the best boxers of his time. A legend. He’s the man. I seen him knock people out with no hands. You know what I’m saying? But this time, I’m going to give the fans what they want. My first fight in Bellator, I want it to be an MMA fight, not a boxing match. Because I love MMA. Again. I’m fighting this guy that’s coming out right now.”
Ortiz joined Rampage in the cage for the initial face off after the announcement of the bout.
“I’ve fought the best of the best in the world,” said Ortiz. “I’ve been fighting for a long, long time and Rampage too. We’ve exchanged with each other; we’ve been friends for a long time. It’s time to push the friendship aside. It’s about giving the fans what they want to see and the best fight possible is going to happen here in Bellator.”
Sure, the fight will feature two big name fighters, but this is a bout that lost the ability to carry a pay-per view card about five years ago.
Bellator needs to do what they feel is necessary to expand their business, but the pay-per view model is very questionable — especially when Bellator has a great thing going currently. With a UFC pay-per view headlined by a Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks welterweight title bout also in November, it’s hard to imagine people lining up to buy a card that is being headlined by a bout between two washed up former champs.