How Bellator Can Improve Their Women's Division
The stars are there, but there is not much direction for a thin talent pool in the women’s division of Bellator. That is expected with the Scott Coker-led company. It is the same with the UFC, but for different reasons. With only two women’s weight classes, there is only so much that can be done. Can the company change all of that thanks to a growing market and a streaming deal with DAZN?
Anything is possible in the wild world of mixed martial arts, especially in the new age we are living in. With thriving stars like Julia Budd and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane main eventing shows and bringing in big numbers, the women of Bellator have a platform to prosper on. They just need that extra leap to prominence.
Here are a few ways Bellator can improve the women’s division:
Taking a page out of Cousin Dana’s book
These days, The Ultimate Fighter and Dana White’s Contender Series program have helped open eyes to a variety of new fighters. Why can’t Bellator do the same? There are plenty of fighters looking for opportunities and Bellator is known for taking on elite prospects. They are also known for taking on elder statesmen, which can also work in this case.
One way to greenlight something like that is through more programming on DAZN or the Bellator app. Make fans invested in your product while having people truly promote the brand and the opportunities given to them. The story of Aaron Pico would have probably been better suited in a platform like this. Imagine “Warhorse” Kristina Williams kicking her way to earning a Bellator contract?
Working with Eddie Hearn
Bellator’s deal with DAZN isn’t the only combat sports deal to have taken place recently. Matchroom Boxing joined the party, making boxing a premier priority for the streaming service. Both Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn and Bellator’s Scott Coker have collaborated to announce a deal with DAZN, why can’t they do more?
It is not uncommon for boxers to dabble in MMA, and vice versa. The most famous example (for Bellator’s sake) is Heather Hardy, who has fought in both in the same year. Attending various events together is the first step. If they are capable of doing so, why can’t more women try to compete in both? In any case, marketing talented fighters like Katie Taylor and Alejandra Lara would help their cause.
When asked if he would want to collaborate with Eddie at any point, Bellator’s President was very open with the idea. Whether pen is actually put on paper is up in the air. It would be a waste of a partnership if something didn’t at least get done.
Women’s Grand Prix
Over the past few months, the Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament has been dominating the scene over at Bellator. Just recently, Scott Coker announced a Welterweight Grand Prix. To enhance competition, why not start a Women’s Grand Prix? You can build one up to crown a new Strawweight Champion, a title that hasn’t been crowned since Zoila Frausto was stripped of it in 2013.
When asked about the opportunity at the DAZN press conference a few weeks ago, a surprised Scott Coker didn’t deny an opportunity was there. He stated:
“We haven’t talked about it yet, but that is not a bad idea at all," Scott Coker commented. "We are starting to bulk up with great talent in our women’s division. In regards to when, probably next year...Whether it is a big star we want to bring in or one we can build from the ground up, we are definitely working on something. We have a good group of girls at 125 that we think can put on a good tournament for.”
Who wouldn’t want to see some of the top women in MMA today square up for a chance at glory? Take advantage of WWE’s announcement of an all-women’s PPV, and you have a recipe for success.
Rome wasn’t built in a day; it was carefully managed. Bellator has transformed into a true force to be reckoned with. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot, especially with women dominating the fight game. The ball is in your court Bellator, what will you do with it?