Tito Ortiz Injured, Rampage Jackson Cancellation: Ortiz's Pulls Out With Fractured Neck, But Bellator's Loss Is MMA Fans' Gain
Exhibit A on why mixed martial arts continue to cultivate fans: the ability to cater to fans in what could be considered a pay-per-view nightmare.
Tito Ortiz, one of the most popular figures in the MMA, was forced to pull out his match against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at Bellator 106, the organization's per-per-view debut, just eight days before the Nov. 2 event, several media outlets reported.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, however, has turned a potential fiasco into a public relations coup. In announcing the main event's cancellation, Rebney announced in a press release that the rest of the card would remain intact, and MMA fans now will get to see the fight for free on Spike TV.
"I've said it since the day we announced the fight that Rampage vs. Tito was a fight I had wanted to see for years, and it's unfortunately something I'm going to have to continue to wait to see," the release quoted Rebney as saying. "After sitting down with our team and partners, the decision was obvious: Give the greatest MMA fans on earth this amazing show live and free on Spike.
"Our fans have been incredible to us and I'm thrilled to be able to give them this great card on the greatest network in MMA, Spike! Chandler vs. Alvarez II, Mo vs. Newton II and Curran vs. Strauss II are all unbelievable fights. This is going to be a great, great night."
The reconfigured card now will have a lightweight title fight rematch between Michael Chandler (12-0 MMA, 9-0 BMMA) and former champ Eddie Alvarez (24-3 MMA, 9-1 BMMA). The card also includes featherweight champion Pat Curran (19-4 MMA, 9-1 BMMA) taking on Daniel Straus (21-4 MMA, 7-1 BMMA in another rematch, and an interim light heavyweight title fight between Muhammed Lawal and Emanuel Newton. That bout is also a rematch.
Unlike the sport of boxing, which likely would've canceled the entire pay-per-view event, MMA officials continue to cater to their fans.