You may not know this but the whole fantasy genre owes its existence to Norse mythology. To people following Germanic or Norse Paganism, the gods may have super powers but they are also predestined to die and the stories of how they meet their end have influenced A Song of Ice and Fire, The Lord of The Rings, Warhammer, Magic: The Gathering and almost every other fantasy series not set in the future. With each Bellator tournament we may not have the final battle of the gods on live television but nonetheless, the shadow of Ragnarok is upon us. In the cage, the fighters represent characters in a fantasy epic, each carving their own mythology as they strive for symbolic immortality. As you read this primer on the Bellator season six welterweight quarterfinals, remember that Tyr shines down upon your battle hungry souls with his blessings.
Karl Amoussou – Bragi
Bragi, the god of poetry, eloquence and song actually gave birth to the term ‘bragging’. Men would drink to Bragi on special occasions and toast to the acts they wished to complete within a year but after a few toasts, men started to talk as if they could teach themselves to fly and thus ‘brag’. A fighter can really only brag with his past accomplishments however, not those they expect to accomplish. Apparently, Karl Amoussou’s ‘bragging’ on twitter has gotten under the skin of his opponent Chris Lozano in ways that would make Bragi proud. Amoussou has stated he plans to knock Chris Lozano out tonight.
Chris Lozano- Sutr
Have you seen Troll Hunter? If so, then imagine the final troll, but wielding a giant flaming sword. If you haven’t seen Troll Hunter then you probably should, just so you get that reference and can picture Surtr, the jötunn who is destined to beat Freyr on the battlefield of Ragnarok and set the world of men aflame. Now, I’m not saying that Chris Lozano is a bad guy by any stretch of the imagination but he is a monsterous welterweight. Ok, so he doesn’t have a giant flaming sword but he does have an 9-2 record and a red belt in Tae Kwon Do and NCAA division level wrestling experience. This probably isn’t enough to topple the gods but will it be enough for the welterweight tournament? He will have to destroy the beast Karl Amoussou first.
Carlos Periera- Hermod
Of his 33 fights, 22 have come by way of KO or TKO. If you were going to pick any of the welterweights in this tournament to take a trip to the underworld and rescue a kidnapped god then you’d send down Periera due to his speed, methodical strategy and already having fought in a place refered to as ‘FATALITY ARENA’. This is why he is most like Hermod, the messenger god bestowed with the gift of speep who also happens to revel in batle. In fact, he loved battle so much that he sometimes escorted the Valkyrie on their ride to earth and the fallen warriors to Valhalla. Talking about Valhalla, thats no doubt where the fists of Periera will be aiming to guide Bryan Baker when the two face off tonight.
David Rickels- Njord
Njord, the god of the sea only really came into his own when he moved from the Vanir (the old, wise gods) to the Aesir (the dominating gods) as part of a peace treaty. Yep, the Norse gods actually had to arrange a peace treaty because they were at war with each other. This is really where the stories about Njord start. Similarly, David Rickels has already been a legitimate ass-kicker in Kansas but it his signing with Bellator that will be the start of his career. He has a 9-0 record and will look to drag Jordan Smith into deep waters and drown him.
Raul Amaya- Fenris
Is there really any other character from Norse mythology that Raul Amaya could be compared to? Fenris, the heel to end all heels has no motive in his story. He’s just a giant wolf who wants to tear the gods apart. He was so badass that when the gods learned of the trouble he was prophesied to cause they tried to bind him and he took Tyr’s hand clean off. Fenris is destined to kill the Allfather, Odin at the final battle, Ragnarok. Now, Raul Amaya may not be destined to kill Odin but he no doubt he believes that he is destined to pick up a Bellator belt. His nickanmae is smashmode and just like Fenris, Amaya is looking to ravage the world of men, or at least those men who face him in a cage, starting with Ben Saunders.
Jordan Smith- Víðarr
Víðarr was so upset at the death of Odin that he ran into the mouth of Fenrir the giant wolf and stabbed him in the heart. Yes, he stabbed him directly in the heart through his mouth. This is the kind of ridiculous courage you can only get from mythological stories yet mere mortals attempt to emulate the spirit of the gods here on Earth and in this season’s welterweight tournament, Jordan Smith is that man. Here is a fighter who most fans will have never heard of despite his stint on TUF and 20 total MMA fights against familiar names such as Karo Parisyan and Josh Burkman. He has only gone to decision three times and will face David Rickels tonight, personifying the courage of Víðarr. Hopefully he doesn’t win via heart-stab though, that would just be messy.
Brian Baker – Freyr
In the world we live in, you can kill thousands of people with the touch of a button. For example, I took out a ridiculous amount of NOD troops in Command & Conquer the other day. In such a world, it takes a real man to enter a battle with nothing but your sword. It takes a god to give away his sword in the name of true love and then enter a battle armed with nothing but an antler. The ability to keep fighting, no matter the odds stacked against you is a necessary requisite for a Norse god but also for a fighter. No fighter in this tournament personifies this perseverance more than Brian Baker, a man who now enters this Bellator tournament aftwer fighting a battle with Leukemia that many mortals could not withstand.
Ben Saunders- Loki
Everyone sees Loki as a kind-of trickster, a bit of a prank puller and in Norse mythology Loki is the Josh Koscheck of gods, instigating others into attacking the gods. Don’t get my wrong, I’m not saying Josh is evil personified, but he is a prank puller who goes too far sometimes, exactly like Loki. What does this have to do with Ben Saunders? Well, Ben Saunders has tricky legs. He can kick you from another dimension if he wants to and will wear a jokeresque grin as he KOs his opponent into obilivion.
Bellator 63 goes down tonight featuring the welterweight quarterfinals. Fights start live on SpikeTV at 8pm EST /7PM CT.