This past weekend, we saw the UFC and Bellator side by side in less than 24 hours. The two back-to-back events displayed a stark contrast in not only their broadcast presentation but in how they treat their older fighters. While it’s not entirely fair to compare a Bellator PPV extravaganza to a Sunday night UFC FS1 show, it’s also entirely fair to say the differences between a UFC PPV and an FS1 show are minimal.
We see the same bland thing from the UFC, thirty-something weeks a year, with no signs of slowing down. It doesn’t help that the UFC marched BJ Penn, one of the last living legends on their roster, out into the Oklahoma night with little fanfare. But it does makes you wonder what Bellator would do with him.
It’s clear Penn doesn’t belong in the UFC anymore and that’s not just because he’s 1-7-1 in his last 9, but because the whole relationship doesn’t work. Can anyone explain why BJ Penn, sullied as his reputation is, should be opening an FS1 card in Oklahoma against Dennis Siver? Fight Night 112 didn’t even spit on his legacy and brand, a brand that helps the UFC — it felt like the UFC pretended it didn’t exist.
Instead of celebrating the return of Baby Jay, the first two-division champ and still (sadly?) the best lightweight fighter of all-time with his classic Hawaiian walk out, we got a legend suddenly appearing in the Octagon after a commercial. It was boring. Fans deserve better. BJ deserves better. The sport deserves better.