Bellator MMA CEO, Scott Coker announced the promotion will join forces with GLORY World Series on September 19 for a one-night extravaganza that has long eluded mixed martial arts.
The SAP Centre in San Jose, California is the chosen destination for Bellator: DYNAMITE, but has become a market starved of premier mixed martial arts action.
UFC on FOX 12 last emanated from the SAP Centre in July 2014. Headlined by a war between Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown as well as Anthony Johnson’s highlight reel knockout of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Undoubtedly, through his experience as the CEO of Strikeforce, Coker is looking to re-ignite some of that magic ahead of Bellator’s biggest event since his arrival in June 2014.
The venue has a capacity of around 18,300 for mixed martial arts, and hosted Strikeforce’s first event, topped by Frank Shamrock vs. Cesar Gracie. Historically known as the first sanctioned MMA event in the state of California.
Since joining Bellator MMA, Scott Coker has changed a lot, and many would argue for the better. The removal of the often confusing tournaments, as well as the implementation of a more consistent schedule, focused around several tent-pole events per year.
The origins of DYNAMITE can be traced back to 2002, with the first ever DYNAMITE!! show being a co-production between PRIDE and K-1.
91,107 packed the Tokyo National Stadium to witness Mirko Filipović and Kazushi Sakuraba face off; a fight Cro Cop won by doctor’s stoppage at the end of round two.
The formula seemed a success, converging the audiences of both MMA and kickboxing, and for eight years; through many different formats, it was.
The event itself is important for Bellator MMA, with Coker stating the promotion is looking to push San Jose as one of their prominent markets.
A stacked event such as Dynamite!! is key in drawing eyes to the product to help sustain interest for future shows.
Liam McGeary defends his Bellator light-heavyweight title against Tito Ortiz in the main event, the Brit’s first title defence since snatching the belt from Emanuel Newton at Bellator 134: The British Invasion.
Ortiz, who is coming off back-to-back wins over Alexander Shlemenko and Stephan Bonnar becomes the oldest fighter to challenge for a Bellator title at the age of 40.
After Ortiz drew a peak audience of 2.2 million for his fight with Bonnar, it comes as no surprise why Coker is beginning to favour these tent-pole style events that look to merge MMA fans of different generations.
Numbers don’t lie, Kimbo Slice did in excess of 500,000 Google searches on Friday night, a number comparable to some big UFC events this year. With Bellator 138: Kimbo vs. Shamrock drawing a 2.1 million peak audience on Spike TV as well.
Since being appointed the CEO of Bellator MMA, Coker has never been afraid to capitalise on older talent, none more so than the fact Kimbo and Shamrock headlined over a featherweight title bout featuring dominant champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.
Phil Davis, Muhammed Lawal, Emanuel Newton and Linton Vassell are also scheduled to compete in a one-night light-heavyweight tournament.
For such a long time, one night tournaments have been extradited from mainstream MMA, but its revival at DYNAMITE illustrates Bellator’s confidence that this style of match-making can hold up in this modern era of martial arts.
The return of DYNAMITE is more than symbolic of Coker’s promotional style, yet demonstrates exactly why the brand remains relevant in a market largely dominated by the UFC.
Although there are still many questions to be answered about the event, it is apparent Coker is doing his best to re-brand martial arts as more of an entertainment spectacle.
Expect a DYNAMITE night of action, and should it succeed, it will further solidify why the partnership of Scott Coker and Bellator MMA is bizarrely good for the sport of mixed martial arts.