Just this weekend we saw Eduardo Dantes(14-3), the 135lb Champion of Bellator fight for a charity event in Brazil; the outcome was not so pleasant. Dantes was KO'd in the first round by Tyson Nam (12-4). Now, the problem here is, this loss diminishes the reputation of Bellator's Champions. This is the same reason Dana White put a hault to UFC fighters competing in other organizations. Just go watch the video of Chuck Liddell entering the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, where he loses to Quinton Jackson. Any fighter can lose in MMA, and it happens. But this is not going to look good for any of your fighters if you are trying to run a reputable MMA organization.
Here are couple things Bellator is slowed down by when trying to compete with the "UFC EMPIRE":
1. There is no Champions clause. What is that? A champions Clause is objected into play where the champion of an organization must fulfill his duties to defend his title, and cannot abandon his title to sign on to another orgnization, unless he loses his title first. This happened with Hector Lombard, who had ALL sorts of buzz surrounding him with his impressive record and KO power. Lombard vacated his title in Bellator and jumped aboard the UFC ship. What happened? He lost his opening fight in the UFC by SPLIT decision. Why does Bellator need to care? Bellator needs to care because NOW, it makes their middleweight division look weak, and it will take a whole heck of a lot longer to build up a new middleweight champion in Bellator.
2. Bellator puts their Champions up against average fighters in non-title fight situations. They do this because of the tournament format, and at times, there is not a contender in time to challenge the champ. So, instead of their champs laying idle, they throw them in "tune-up" fights to keep them busy. Problem is, at times, those champs lose to these average fighters, and AGAIN, it makes Belattor's best look average and not worth all the hype. Like I said before, Bellator is running a busines, and that means marketing your fighters as the best. They need to do what UFC does and protect their champs by only allowing them to fight top contenders in their organization.
Soultions? Well the first one is easy: GET A CHAMPIONS CLAUSE! Hector still might be fighting in Bellator and defending his belt against TWO reputable contenders who are now in line (Alexander Schlemenko, and Maiquel Falcao).
The next solution has options. Here's the first option: When Champs are in need of a title fight, instead of fighting non-title fights where they are fighting against average fighters, Bjorn Rebney could give a title shot to a top contender who has a good-looking record. It would give the chance for this contender to snag the title from the champ without going through the tourney. Perfect example. Let's say Michael Chandler needs someone to fight while the tournament is going on. He could eiher fight Shinya Aoki, or he could fight Lloyd Woodard. Both those guys would have the chance to grab the belt from Chandler, and if Chandler loses, it won't look that bad because he lost to a top fighter, even though he loses his belt this way.
Second option would be to hold "Champion vs. Champion" Super-Fights. Here would be an example: Lets say Michael Chandler is waiting for a contender and needs a fight to stay busy, and Ben askren is waitng around as well. Instead of Ben Askren fighting Nick Thompson and Michael Chandler fighting Akihiro Gono, why not have the two fighters fight at a catchweight of 163 pounds. This way, it is a win-win situation. When one of the fighters win, it makes them look that much better, and if they lose, hey, they lost to another champion in the same organization as them. That way, it will not tarnish the fighter and the organization if they lose in a non-title fight or outside the organization. More examples would be: Hector Lombard vs Christian M'pumbu at a catchweight of 195lbs. That way, M'pumbu would not have lost to Travis Wiuff, and instead, he could have fought Lombard. In a situation with Cole Konrad, I would recommend adding a 235 lb div. as well. That way, he could fight the 235lb champ if he needed to. Which he has needed to, because he has only fought 3 times in 2 years, which isn't alot. He is young and in his prime to make a name for himself in the top 10 of the world.
Hopefully Bjorn can make some changes. I really am a fan of Bellator and do believe they have some of the best fighters in the world.