Several years ago, Bellator made commitment to the women’s division and help a strawweight tournament to find the best fighter at 115. The fights brought exciting matches and made the careers of several of fighters including InvictaFC champ Carla Esparza and current Bellator signee Jessica Aguilar. It also introduced the world to the legend Megumi Fujii.
This happened before the Viacom buyout, which is seeing the women’s division taking a back burner to the guys. We have seen a few matches from the ladies as a “special attraction”, but no tournament to speak of.
Here is sorry part. Jessica Aguilar, the #1 strawweight on the planet, is under the Bellator banner and isn’t getting more than two fights a year, and it is hard to match her. Viacom won’t lend Aguilar fight at Invicta, because of the matches that make sense at InvictaFC would be too big. Felice Herrig has been a bit more active, but still does have the same problem of finding good enough opponents.
To say the least, us female fighting fans are frustrated. With no commitment from Viacom either way, we are seeing some opportunities slip. We can say the rematch we have wanted to see in strawweight division between Aguilar and InvictaFC champ Carla Esaparza won’t be happening anytime soon, and no strawweights in general can’t get their hands on the #1 spot at 115. Herrig also needs some solid competition brought to increase her profile.
If Viacom goes all in, we could see a tournament with some stars that are hungry to make a name for themselves, and the ability to work their way up the ranks. Plus we don’t get stuck with the same opponents time and again. With a new pay-per-view upcoming, a lot of fans will be disappointed if Herrig and/or Aguilar are not fighting, especially a solid opponent.
The flipside of the coin, which most pundits are stating, is that Viacom isn’t serious about the division and want to phase it out. If they do, why not now? Both Herrig and Aguilar has better opportunities at Invicta, where there is a huge amount of talent ready to take on two of the top ten strawweights on the planet.
We can tell you that Munah Holland (who was under a Bellator contract) has completed her commitments and will have a lot of great opportunities at flyweight, and could possibly make the argument to be signed to the UFC.
In closing, we want to send a message to Viacom. You are messing with fighters careers not deciding if you want the division or not. If the UFC is any example, it’s worth investing in women’s divisions and if the hype for “The Ultimate Fighter” this fall doesn’t say promotable, we don’t know what does.
If you want to get rid of it, it’s no skin off our backs. We would rather have Aguilar and Herrig face some of the best competition in the planet than have them stuck doing nothing or fighting the same opponent time and again.
Make a decision!
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