With Bellator’s successful crossover event with Japan-based promotion RIZIN FF on New Year’s Eve, fans are clamoring for a potential crossover between Scott Coker’s brand and the stars of the UFC.
The event, which aired via tape delay on Saturday night, featured some of Bellator’s top stars including AJ McKee, Juan Archuleta, and Patricio Pitbull, all of whom earned victories at the Saitama Super Arena. Joining in on the fun were Kyoji Horiguchi and Gadzhi Rabadanov who also earned wins giving Bellator a clean sweep against their RIZIN counterparts. With Bellator’s success, fans immediately began calling on Dana White to assemble his best fighters for a UFC vs. Bellator showdown.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim. Former UFC heavyweight competitor Brendan Schaub shared his thoughts on the possibility of a crossover event featuring the stars of the UFC during his most recent episode of ‘The Schaub Show’ on YouTube.
“Bellator and RIZIN need to do this to get traction. UFC doesn’t. There’s no shade on Bellator, RIZIN, or any other organization, but that would be like the CFL (Canadian Football League) being like, ‘Oh, I bet we’d crush against the NFL guys.’ The NFL’s going, ‘Maybe. Who’s this help? We’re good. We’re crushing it. Why would we switch up our business plan to help you out?’ They’re not going to do it so stop all that. The UFC doesn’t need to do it.
“Dana White had a good point and I do believe this. Those guys [Kyoji] Horiguchi, Juan Archuleta, Patricio [Pitpull]. Especially AJ McKee at his age could give a lot of UFC guys problems. Are they gonna wreck shop? Probably not. There’s only one way to find out. They’d have to sign with the UFC.”
Brendan Schaub Believes Bellator Fighters Good Enough to Compete Against UFC Stars Should Already Be in the UFC
Taking a rather frank approach to the argument, Brendan Schaub believes that if certain Bellator fighters were truly good enough to compete against UFC talent, Dana White would have already signed them to his promotion.
“If you were that good, the UFC would have signed you. Now, there are fighters in Bellator who came up through the program and got to a certain point where they should probably be in the UFC they’re under contract to Bellator and can’t come over to the UFC. That’s a different story.
“If you want to be considered the best, baddest, most popular fighter on the planet, the UFC is the one-stop shop. There’s no ifs about it. It is what it is, man. And all these people going, ‘I don’t get why Dana doesn’t play with Bellator and they do this crossover.’ Because they don’t need to. If I’m Bellator or I’m RIZIN or these other organizations, keep doing this. This is different than what the UFC does. Don’t try to compete with the UFC and just do the same exact thing UFC does because a) you don’t have the star b) you don’t have the roster, c) you don’t have the depth.”
Instead of just being another mixed martial arts organization emulating what the UFC is doing, Schaub emplores promotions to stand out from the industry’s top dog, giving now-defunct Japanese promotion PRIDE as a prime example. PRIDE set itself apart from the UFC in as many ways as possible and as a result, carved out a spot for itself in combat sports history.
“All these other organizations are constantly trying to just mimic what the UFC’s doing. Do your own thing. That’s what made PRIDE special. PRIDE and UFC couldn’t be more opposite. 15-minute rounds. The Grand Prix. The walkouts. The ring. It was always white. It was never in America.
They came here once in Las Vegas. I was there, not a big deal. Front row, but the whole thing was completely different than the UFC. That’s what made them special and they had their own stars. Do your own thing. Don’t be a cookie-cutter copycat of the UFC.”