In the past two years, Ryan Bader has become the most dominant fighter in both Bellator’s light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, earning both of the titles in his first and fifth fight respectively.
Tito Ortiz for the past two years has fought once in Bellator against Chael Sonnen, retired, un-retired to get revenge on a nearly 50-year-old Chuck Liddell in the first and only Golden Boy MMA event, retired again, un-retired to sign with Combate Americas and fight former WWE champion Alberto Del Rio.
Yet, when on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show on Monday to discuss his upcoming 210 pound catchweight fight against Del Rio, Ortiz made it clear he’d be happy to give Bader a rematch of their 2011 fight in the UFC.
“I would possibly like to do a cross-promotion, this is something that I’d like to talk to Campbell about,” Ortiz declared the interview with Helwani. “Let’s do a cross-promotion. I know Ryan Bader is the champion at Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight. Let’s do a cross promotion, let’s do the rematch.”
“Let’s give that chance back to Bader. I am willing to give him the chance. The kid deserves it. He’s a hard-working man, he’s the champ. I respect him, and I think Ryan Bader is an awesome human being, awesome fighter, awesome father. I look up to the guy and respect him for being champion. Let’s get in there and try number two and see if I was lucky the first time.”
While Bellator has a solid cross-promotional relationship with RIZIN, the Japanese promotion does not have distribution in the United States, nor does it run events outside of Asia. Combate Americas has both and has been a consistent ratings threat to the Viacom owned promotion.
One thing that can force a cross-brand fight is if DAZN, a streaming partner for both organizations is able to negotiate a fight between the two for a mega event.