On June 25th, 2021, Bellator announced that it would be traveling to Russia for its inaugural card in the home country of MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor’s opponent, on the other hand, was yet still to be announced. Bellator seemed keen to give the fight to Matt Mitrione, providing “The Last Emperor” the opportunity to avenge his double knockdown knockout loss. Unfortunately, Mitrione lost this past weekend to Tyrell Fortune via TKO, putting him out of the race and resulted in Bellator releasing him. Here’s where we present Bellator, the key that will open up the treasure chest.
Wipe the confused expression on your face. As a promotion, Bellator has to not only look at it from the fan and sport perspective; they also look through a marketing, promotional, and financial perspective. And Jake Hager ticks all the boxes.
AEW: The Missing Silent Partner
Jake Hager is contracted to Bellator for MMA while also being employed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) for pro-wrestling/sports entertainment. He’s a mustard seed, and when you water a mustard seed, they become some of the world’s most significant trees. Hager’s marketing potential is infinite with his access to the CBS/Showtime AND TNT platform. If given the full access to give a 100% effort on the promotional and marketing teams, this has the potential to be one of Bellator’s biggest ever successful show, while helping AEW grows its audience outside of the American region. With Fedor being the legend he is in Russia, he can carry the promotional/marketing weight in that region. Jake Hager, on the other hand, will do the same in the American territory. For obvious reasons, both promotions will re-use the America Vs. Russia storyline while promoting it. Bellator had already tested this promotional storyline when Fedor Emelianenko fought Chael Sonnen at Bellator 208 in Long Island, NY. This time Bellator will know what works and what doesn’t. Now about introducing Fedor into AEW…
An All Out Masterpiece
All Elite Wrestling will be hosting the PPV “All Out” on September 5, 2021, at the Sears Center in Chicago. If agreed upon by AEW, Jake Hager will be in the main event the PPV in a possible triple threat. He will win the match and start celebrating with his tag partners (FTR). As they meet in the center to hug each other one last time, the lights go out, and it’s pitch black—the crowd gasps as there seems to be a commotion in the ring. Then, lights are back, and there is Team Fedor with Fedor Emelianenko in the center, watching a battered Jake Hager and crew crumbled on the ground. Standing by his side are Vadim Nemkov and Valentin Moldavsky, with their championship draped over their shoulders. The screen zooms out as the PPV stream closes out the show. And the possibilities after that are endless as Bellator and AEW have just opened up a treasure chest of options with this storyline.
Emelianenko vs. Hager: A Moscow Masterpiece
With Fedor main eventing against Hager, Valentin can co-main with an Interim Heavyweight title defense, with Vadim below him defending against Anthony Johnson (Continuing the USA v. Russia theme). Recent victor Diana “Pantera” Avsaragova can be up before the LHW title fight, with Tim Johnson and Tyrell Fortune opening the card with some bad blood and heavyweight action. Heck, even have Usman Nurmagomdeov main event the YouTube prelims to maximize the Russian social traffic on the platform.
With this being the inaugural PPV show in Russia, Bellator’s only gets one shot at a good first impression. When’s a treasure map presented to you, the logical thing would be to locate the treasure. This scenario benefits both parties and helps them grow and reach out to inaccessible audiences without the cooperation/partnership.
What do you guys think? Is this too crazy out of the hat? Or is it lightning in a bottle? The thought of cross-mingling platforms to bring the best of both worlds does seem far-fetched, but it’s not impossible.
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