Commentary

Vegh (kind of) saves day for Bellator

Originally Published: August 27, 2012
By Josh Gross | ESPN.com

Bellator representatives could not be reached for comment Sunday when I asked for reaction to Eduardo Dantas getting starched in Brazil.

Coming off a night when a new challenger was crowned in the division, one that featured a compelling story and serious competitiveness factor, perhaps people inside the promotion were beyond heartbroken by the result to respond.

I wonder if this will prompt Bellator executives to adopt a Zuffa mindset, where talent is more restricted in its movement, not less.

The notion that a UFC champion would be allowed to ply his trade anywhere but the Octagon is heresy. Yet despite the precedent laid down by Dana White -- the most successful promoter in MMA history -- here was Dantas, a highly thought-of youngster based on his results in competition, losing less than 2 minutes after the opening bell.

The final card of Bellator's 2012 summer series was weakened by the loss of Pat Curran due to injury. Curran's title defense against Patricio Freire, who on Sunday inexplicably accused Curran and, by extension, Bellator of lying about the American's broken orbital bone, was lost for the time being. But the possibility of watching Dantas versus Marcos Galvao salvaged some of the intrigue in Tunica, Miss.

Then Dantas went out, presumably to remain sharp, and couldn't handle a punch upside his head that, on my ballot at least, dropped him from the top 10 rankings.

Live and learn? We'll see.

As for the rare Zuffa-free weekend, Bellator, Titan Fighting and Shooto Brazil all featured noteworthy performances. Here's how some of the bigger names fared, and what's next for them.