This much we know: Tito Ortiz will emerge from retirement to fight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson inside the Bellator cage on Nov. 2 on pay-per-view. In the nook of the Internet reserved for mixed martial arts, such information caused quite a stir — much of it negative in nature.
Here’s what we don’t yet know, and thus can’t light up the Internet complaining about or championing its cause: how much Bellator will charge for its debut pay-per-view event.
The price point should be the real concern here, not whether or not an opportunity is provided for two grown men in their mid-30s to decide to walk into a circular arena and hurl their bodies at one another to the delight of onlookers and their own bank accounts.
Bellator has gained a foothold in the MMA marketspace through its tournaments and development of new talent playing out on free television, first MTV2 and now Spike. Both are properties of Viacom, which also owns a majority share of Bellator. Those tournaments play nicely in their weekly television format.
Bellator now enters the pay-per-view landscape (tough break, Eddie Alvarez), an area ruled for years by UFC. In terms of name recognition, Bellator headlines it with two of the biggest ones, even if they are past their primes and on a combined six-fight losing streak.
Ortiz vs. Rampage will still draw interest, perhaps some of which stems from that morbid curiousity gene in our bodies. You know the one. It’s the same one that makes people cause traffic on the highway for no reason when they slow down to look at an accident on the opposite side of the road.
The remainder of the pay-per-view portion of Bellator’s card will go a long way in determining how many people pay to view it.
But how much money is such curiousity worth to the viewer? Bellator and Viacom likely employ people far smarter than most of us on matters of economics and marketing who can determine the answer to such a question.
It would be figure to be cheaper than what the UFC charges, typically $54.95 for the HD broadcast, right?
Bellator can’t go too low -- $9.95, for example -- for fear of devaluing its own product in the eyes of consumers. Is $39.95 too much? Is $19.95 too little?