Bellator Institutes Championship Rematch Clause

November 26, 2012
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As the move to Spike TV in 2013 looms overhead, Bellator Fighting Championships has instituted a new championship rematch clause.

In Bellator, a title shot is earned when a fighter goes through their tournament and then competes against the champion at a later date. But on a couple of occasions, the championship fights have been razor close or exciting affairs, but no rematch could happen due to the tournament format.

Essentially even after losing a close decision, a champion or challenger would have to go back through an 8-man tournament to get another crack at the belt.

This new move ensures that challengers or champions who put on the best show and best fight will have a chance at an automatic rematch based on Bellator’s new guidelines.

“When a fighter’s earned a shot at the world title by winning The Toughest Tournament in Sports and competes in a title fight that knocks fans like us back in our seats (win or lose) delivering an incredible fight, when a rematch is called for, we will deliver it,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney announced on Monday.

“Championship fights give us some of the greatest moments in MMA. And, re-matches of incredible championship fights will give fans like us more of those electrifying moments, while staying true to the world’s best fighters having had to earn their way to those title shots.”

This move can’t be ignored when looking at some past situations where rematches seemed warranted.

Like in the case of Jay Hieron, who lost a razor close decision to welterweight champion Ben Askren, but eventually left the promotion when he was told he would have to enter another tournament to re-claim another shot at the belt.

Or in the situation currently existing with former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, who lost his belt in a “Fight of the Year” performance against current title holder Michael Chandler.

It’s hard to ignore the fact that Alvarez is currently in contract negotiations with Bellator, and the promise of a rematch against Chandler would likely go a long way towards making a deal happen.

Obviously no decision has been made yet regarding Alvarez’s potential future with Bellator, but this new championship rematch clause could help sweeten the pot.

Bellator will officially move to Spike TV in January 2013 with their tournaments kicking off on the network as well as their new reality show.

  • Mike Oxafloppin

    This is a 50/50 decision. It’s makes total sense but I could see this new rule becoming the beginning of the end of Tournament formats in Bellator. This has to be more of a Viacom decision, in order to keep it’s top talent interested in staying with the promotion.

    • shakejunt

      that’s definitely part of it.

      the problem i see here is in cases like their fw division right now. pitbull won season 4 and won’t get his shot until summer 2013 while you still have strauss waiting around for his shot and the winner of martinez-shahbulat getting promised another.

      it’s a huge bottleneck and any rematch, while possibly entertaining, would just push this whole system back another half year.

  • PhranktheTank

    When the Bellator champ has to wait so long between fights that they take ‘non-title superfights’, they might as well allow the occasional rematch. Its fine as long as the rule isn’t abused.

    • GoNoles

      exactly what i was thinkin, the tourny format leaves the champion waiting to long

  • Timothy Malone

    Lame. Championship losers should have to go through the tournament like everyone else. What about non-title fight winners who actually beat the champion like Travis Wiuff?! He had to go in the tournament still.

    This probably is another step towards Bellator realizing the tournament format isn’t actually a good idea, as the UFC did over a decade ago. But as the only gimmick that separates them from the UFC, they have to try to stick with it somehow.

  • George Sperry

    ““When a fighter’s earned a shot at the world title by winning The
    Toughest Tournament in Sports and competes in a title fight that knocks
    fans like us back in our seats (win or lose) delivering an incredible
    fight, when a rematch is called for, we will deliver it,” Bellator CEO
    Bjorn Rebney announced on Monday.”
    That’s the criteria?

  • MaritalArtist

    If it was a split or majority decision, or if the winner won by just 1 round, or if there was some significant controversy regarding how the fight was called…. Then sure.