[Opinion] A Fistful Of Reality: Why You Should Watch Bellator 60 - Warren Vs. Curran
On Friday Night (3/9), Bellator Fighting Championships kicks off their sixth season with Bellator LX (60) from the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. The main event features a battle matching Featherweight Champion Joe Warren against challenger, and winner of the 2011 Featherweight Tournament, Pat Curran. Based on the skill level of both fighters, Warren vs. Curran may end up being one of the best MMA matches of the year, and on par with Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler’s battle in Bellator in November, which wound up as the second best MMA fight of 2011 behind Shogun vs. Dan Henderson. With an overcrowded social calendar, and even more television competition than ever before, why should you go out of your way to watch it?
For many, Friday nights often involve going out with friends and family and/or some form of festive spirit consumption. For those left at home and looking for some form of combat to watch, WWE Smackdown on SyFy and ESPN’s Friday Night Fights have been available for a number of years. In addition, to those looking for some MMA, HDNet regularly airs different cards from throughout the world. Now, Friday nights will become even crowded for fight fans with the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter on FX and Bellator’s move to Fridays on MTV2 and Epix. All will be fighting for eyes, but it is highly recommended that this Friday you tune into Bellator’s season premiere.
If you are unfamiliar with Bellator, they have been operating for three years, and with Strikeforce’s sale to Zuffa, they are now the second largest MMA organization in the world. They were recently purchased by Viacom, which means they have the backing of a major media conglomerate to foster their growth. Their main format of fights differs from UFC’s, in that their title shots are not decided by a matchmaker, but based on the legitimate results of tournaments. If a fighter wins the tournament throughout the season, the next season that fighter faces the champion for their title. Hence, the strongest possible contenders are decided as they have had to go through three opponents to face the belt holder. No more crapshoots by Joe Silva and Dana White for who most deserves a title shot.
If you choose to tune in on Friday night, aside from the fact that the fights you will witness will always mean something in the grand scheme of things, you will also witness a main event that matches two of the best featherweight fighters in the world against one another. Joe Warren (7-2) is a former Olympic-level wrestler, who made a bad decision when it came to the greenery, and ended up suspended for two years from Olympic competition. Transitioning into MMA, he won the Bellator Season Two Featherweight Tournament. Since winning the title, he has fought a catchweight fight and entered the Bantamweight Tournament last season. His results in that tournament were not as successful and he suffered a knockout loss at the hands of Alexis Vila, also an elite level fighter.
Warren’s opponent, Pat Curran, has more fights under his belt with a 16-4 record. Within Bellator, his record is impressive at 6-1, with his only loss being at the hands of Bellator’s biggest name fighter, Eddie Alvarez. Curran has the ability to knockout and submit his opponents, so his arsenal of ways to put away Warren makes this fight a big challenge for the champion. Entering the fight with a three fight win streak, and winning seven of his last eight fights, means that Curran has a great shot of dethroning the champion like Michael Chandler did with Eddie Alvarez last season.
Friday night, you could choose to watch The Ultimate Fighter, and see a bunch of young fighters, who you may never hear from again, hang out in their house, make omelets, get drunk, pee on each others’ beds, and even possibly fight. You could also choose to watch fighters who are already established, and don’t need storylines and gimmicks to sell them, engage in battles that pit the best of the best against one another. As enticing as another season of a reality show sounds, Bellator 60: Warren vs. Curran sounds even better.
Bellator airs Friday night at 8 pm on MTV2 and Epix.