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Taylor-Made: The Bellator Season Four Awards

Bellator Season 4 is in the books and I’m here to celebrate the end of the season with some awards. These aren’t your typical awards though where I hand out cliché awards like “Best Fight” and “Most Impressive Performance” because there’s just no fun in that. That’s why I’m going to “borrow” an idea from well-known writer Bill Simmons and hand out awards based on a string of words that may or may not have crossed your ears sometime in your life.

While Simmons likes to quote movies and television shows, I’m going to quote songs by a certain musical artist. Now I know you’re thinking that I’ll quote some rap or classic rock artist because when you think MMA, rap and classic rock are the music that comes to mind thanks to every fighter feeling the need to use the latest thumper by Lil Wayne or a classic AC/DC anthem as their walk out music. Now while I listen to plenty of rap and dabble in classic rock, my go-to artist is Taylor Swift. When it comes to the country pop music of Ms. Swift, I can usually recognize the song on the first chord. Once again, let me read you’re mind and tell you that you’re probably going to say, “Taylor Swift has absolutely nothing to do with MMA.” Well, you’re right. But if the NFL can open the 2010-2011 season with a mini Swift concert, I can do a MMA awards column based on songs written by Swift that are usually about break ups and make ups.

So from now on, when you think Taylor Swift, you’ll probably think of me. And the Bellator Season Four awards:

“It’s all right just wait and see your, string of lights are still bright to me.”

To Joe Warren

Now I know Warren has only lost one fight in his MMA career but he’s been on the right side of some questionable decisions and when you talk as much trash as he does, you need to do more than eek out decisions. Mike Tyson wasn’t called “The Baddest Man on the Planet” because he won split decisions where he spent a good period of time taking a beating. He got that nickname because he knocked dudes out within the first few rounds. Warren is still an innocent though. He’s still young in the sport of MMA, he’s going to continue to improve (as long as he keeps focused on one thing instead of five), and he’ll shine bright in all of the lights.

“All this time I was wasting hoping you would come around. I’ve been giving out chances every time and all you do is let me down.”

To Karina Hallinan, Nick Thompson, Marcos Galvao, Chad Robichaux, and Falaniko Vitale

All five of you had chances to defeat current Bellator champions (albeit in non-title bouts) and all five of you failed. Listen, I hate these “non-title super fights” that Bellator puts on because I hate any non-title fight and I hate the term “super fight” when it’s really a fight that not even the hardcore of the most hardcore MMA fan really cares about. Sooner or later a Bellator champion is going to lose one of these non-title fights and then I want to see how Bjorn Rebney handles things. Luckily for him, that hasn’t happened yet and I’m sure Bjorn isn’t sorry about that.

“I took a chance, I took a shot, and you might think I’m bulletproof but I’m not. You took a swing, I took it hard, and down here from the ground I see who you are.”

To Waachiim Spiritwolf and Jamie Jara

These two men took swings and shots for 15 minutes and they took them hard. It was originally a preliminary fight that didn’t air but the fight was so entertaining that Bellator smartly aired the fight the following week. The fight ended in a razor close split decision and I would love to see a rematch in the future between the two. If you don’t agree with me, tell me why.

“I don’t know how it gets better than this, you take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless.”

To Jared Hess

After brutally blowing out his knee in May 2010, Hess returned eleven months later and looked just as sharp as ever against Chris Bell. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Hess on his road to recovery but that fearlessness is why he’s a MMA fighter.

“I don’t know what to say since a twist of fate, when it all broke down.”

To Jay Hieron

The story of Hieron and Bellator seemed like a fairytale. Hieron has always been one of the more underrated fighters in the sport and he wasn’t getting the publicity (or even fights) that he should have from Strikeforce. So when he entered the Bellator Season 4 tournament, he seemed like a lock to win. Well, he did win, but not without plenty of controversy. His first fight was stopped prematurely when his opponent didn’t tap out and his next two fights were close decisions where many people thought he lost both times. I’m not trying to knock Hieron because he’s not a judge and he can’t control how they look at things but for a guy who was supposed to be a top welterweight in the world and a big fish for the company, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

“Cause I see sparks fly, whenever you smile.”

To Mercedes Terrell via Bren Conlan

If you don’t know who Ms. Terrell is, she is one of the many Bellator ring girls. I don’t know how many of you watch the Bellator weigh-ins but my guess is that the number is less than five. Someone who does watch every Bellator weigh-in though is 5OZ’s own editor, Bren Conlan. Without fail, if Mercedes is not present when men are stripping down to their underwear, Bren makes sure to alert me (and others) of this fact via Twitter. Putting two and two together, I’m concluding that Bren might have a little crush on Mercedes. I hope that should they ever meet in the future, sparks do indeed fly between the two. But seriously, who develops a crush on a MMA ring girl…….Oh wait.

“We could be a beautiful miracle, unbelievable, instead of just invisible.”

To MTV2/Bellator Production

For those of you that watched Bellator on FSN and compare it to Bellator on MTV2, you’ll probably notice some differences. I feel like on MTV2 they have better graphics and videos but that all goes unnoticed due to the fact that the show is in standard definition. At first I thought that I bought the wrong TV and was nothing but a “sillyhead” but unfortunately I discovered that there is no high definition version of MTV2. So now I, along with the rest of you, are stuck watching the television picture quality equivalent of the WNBA. Bellator should get praised more for their production, because they do a couple things that other companies don’t (like show prelim fights), but it’s completely overlooked by the non-clear picture.

“You should’ve said no, you should’ve gone home, you should’ve thought twice before you let it all go.”

To Roger Huerta

Remember him? I think everybody was a fan of Huerta during his UFC run because of the incredible journey that he overcame and every time he stepped into the cage, he put on a great fight. But then he seemed to get a big head about things, thought he was worth more than he really was, and everything went downhill. So how can the man get an award when he didn’t even compete in Season Four? Simple. I don’t hand out awards based on just who shows up like most award shows. Besides that though, he was supposed to be Bellator’s big star when they signed him and yet he’s 1-2 in the company and didn’t even compete in the season four tournament. Huerta talked a big game when he signed with Bellator, and while I questioned his reasons, I was willing to give him a chance. He should’ve said no to Bellator though. He should’ve taken less money to stay with UFC, fought better-known competition, and maybe he wouldn’t be the afterthought in the MMA world that he is today.

“This aint Hollywood, this is a small town. I was a dreamer before you went and let me down. Now it’s too late for you and your white horse to come around.”

To Toby Imada

For the third straight lightweight tournament, Imada bowed out before he could get his hands on the gold. This season he exited in the semifinals, which is the earliest he’s ever lost in the tournament. Sadly for Imada, it just doesn’t look like he was meant to be Bellator Lightweight Champion. He always puts up a good fight in the tournament but he always comes up short. Unfortunately for Imada, I don’t believe that his white horse is ever going to come save him from tournament defeat.

“Why would you wanna make the very first scar? Why would you wanna break a perfectly good heart?”

To Giedrius Karavackus

Fighting in front of a crowd that was packed with Sammy Oropeza fans and down two rounds to none, Karavackus broke plenty of hearts when he mounted a third round comeback and capped it off with a rare scarf hold armlock submission. Hopefully we see Karabackus make more scars and break more hearts in the future.

“So watch me strike a match on all my wasted time. As far as I’m concerned, you’re just another picture to burn.”

To Hector Lombard and Eddie Alvarez

I feel like Lombard and Alvarez are just wasting their time in the Bellator cage. They’re the two best fighters not under a Zuffa contract and they’re extremely talented but just how good are they? We’re not going to find that answer if they’re fighting guys like Falaniko Vitale and Pat Curran. Maybe Michael Chandler can present a threat to Alvarez but if not, who’s after that? And Bellator doesn’t even have a contender lined up for Lombard for next season. I want to know if Lombard and Alvarez are legit top five or ten fighters but right now they’re just pictures burning.

“We are the kings and queens. You traded your baseball cap for a crown. When they gave us our trophies and we held them up for our town.”

To Michael Chandler

He traded his wrestling credentials for a MMA title and was spotlighted as one heck of a talent at 155. He beat highly touted prospect Marcin Held after being in trouble early and then showed a lot of heart in victories over Lloyd Woodard and Patricky Freire. Maybe after his fight against Alvarez, we’ll be saying, “long live” to the new Bellator lightweight king.

“Someday, I’ll be, big enough so you can’t hit me, and all you’re ever gonna be is mean. Why ya gotta be so mean?”

To Ben Saunders

Now reading that lyric, you may think it has a negative context (and in song form, it does) but allow me to turn it into a positive. In MMA, being mean isn’t a bad thing and no one was meaner than Saunders during this past Bellator season. He put a beat down on Matt Lee so bad that if Lee were to walk the streets of Chicago, he may be mistaken for former Chicago Cubs first baseman Derek Lee. It was a reminder to the world of what Saunders is capable of when he’s on top of his game and at his meanest.

“It’s a love story baby just say yes.”

To Bryan Baker

After stopping Joe Riggs, Baker one-upped himself by proposing to his very attractive girlfriend. It’s always nice to see a lighter side of MMA fighters because people tend to forget that outside of the cage, these guys and girls have significant others who care for them. I wish Baker and the future Mrs. Baker the best of luck and hope that their love story ends in happiness.

“Our song is the slammin’ screen door, sneakin’ out late, tappin’ on your window……And when I got home, before I said amen, askin’ God if he, could play it again.”

To Ben Askren

Everyone has a song in life. While I don’t know what Askren’s life song is, I do know what his MMA game plan is and so does everyone else in the world. And yet no one can stop it. Just like no one can stop you or I from singing our favorite song when it comes on the radio. Fighters know exactly what Askren is going to do and there is nothing that can do about it.

“They might be bigger, but we’re faster and never scared.”

To Patricio Freire

Guys like Georgi Karakahnyan, Wilson Reis, and Daniel Straus may have been bigger but that didn’t matter to Freire. He finished Karakahnyan and Reis in impressive fashion and then out-worked Straus to win the Season Four Featherweight Tournament and earn another crack at Warren.

“All I can say is it was, enchanting to meet you.”

To Christian M’Pumbu

To most fans, M’Pumbu was either unknown or under the radar. Not anymore. M’Pumbu made his mark during Bellator’s first-ever light heavyweight tournament by knocking out his three opponents and capturing the vacant Bellator Light Heavyweight title. The MMA world was hopefully enchanted to meet M’Pumbu because who knows, he might be a name we’ll be saying for years to come.

“Don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little. Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up, it could stay this simple.”

To Bjorn Rebney

Rebney probably doesn’t want to hear this but I hope that he and Bellator never grow up. They’re great as the third (or second, if you count Zuffa as one promotion) best promotion in MMA. They’re never going to catch UFC and as long as they don’t have that expectation, they can continue to tread along and make a nice name for themselves. Rebney doesn’t seem like a stupid guy. Hopefully he knows that he can’t challenge Dana White and company and he shouldn’t try to. There’s nothing wrong with being second place as long as you know that you’re second place and you don’t try and be first place. Has he seen what has happened to previous companies who tried to compete for first place? They latest about as long as a Taylor Swift relationship. Keep things simple Bjorn, don’t let nobody hurt you, don’t let nobody burn you, and never grow up.


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