The Wexford star dominated his opponent, in a fight without television viewers
Brian Moore scored a career-altering win at Bellator 177 last Friday in Hungary, but unfortunately, no one outside of the Budapest Sports Arena got to see it.
The Wexford man has made mixed-martial-arts his life pursuit. After his initial Bellator loss to top-ranked featherweight contender Daniel Weichel in December, a baptism of fire by anyone’s standards, last week’s win over the Czech Republic’s Michal Hořejší has likely secured his future with one of the biggest MMA promotions in the world.
Reports from the event suggest that Moore was utterly dominant in the bout. All judges scored the first round a 10-8 in favour of the Irishman and in the second round he applied further pressure until the referee had to stop the action. In his post-fight interview, Moore looked to align himself with a slot on the promotion’s upcoming Madison Square Garden card in June.
Moore’s declaration would usually be the type of call to action that would send the Irish MMA masses into a frenzy.
The nation’s MMA diehards have gained a reputation for themselves because of their campaigns to get Irish fighters to the biggest stages in the world. Even Conor McGregor’s hype was bolstered significantly by the overwhelming outpouring of praise from his national following before he reached the bright lights of the Octagon.
The numerous inquiries on Twitter and Facebook would suggest that Moore’s fight would’ve had quite a viewership had it been shown on live TV in the UK and Ireland. Yet, the deal the promotion has with Spike UK forces Bellator events to be shown on tape delay, a day or even a week after they take place in some cases.
As Moore’s sophomore promotional outing took place on the preliminary card, there was no footage of the event made available to the Irish public whatsoever. Even after the fact, there was no fight footage sent out via social media, not even a 10-second highlight clip.
Indeed, nothing to get excited about, if you’re an Irish MMA fan.
“It is disappointing that no one has got to see it yet,” said Moore, speaking on his return to Ireland.
Round 2 KO 👊🇮🇪 I feel like I have an army in my corner each time I fight with the support, messages, well wishes etc I recieve before I make that walk - I am so grateful to you all. I want to thank my team SBG and my coaches especially if @coach_kavanagh - despite being on holidays, he was in constant contact, assessing sparring footage and like always going above and beyond. My brother from another mother @levi_kehoe_ who left a hectic schedule at home to come out and corner me. We've had each other's back since we were 5 years old! Big shout out to two Wexicans @lockgannon and Stephen Murphy for their hard work with me. Locky is a genius with the cut and Stevo is a savage stand up coach. My clients at @moore.fitness for their support and patience too! Finally, thank you to my family especially my wife @noreenodeamoore. A lot of this victory is down to sacrifice - and she sacrifices the most on our journey. Her love and support can't be put into words. Thank you baby. (And thank you Missie 😊) Lastly, if you want something - do it... But do it 100%. If I had listened to people when I started this game, I would have never have stepped foot into a gym - nevermind the @bellatormma cage. But trust me.... This is only the start!!! Give me MSG!!! 🇮🇪🇮🇪🇮🇪 #sbg #ireland #irishmma #pikeman #hardwork #dedication #mma @bellatormma #moorefitness #ko @mikekogan
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“Working with Bellator is fantastic. They’re super-ambitious and they don’t do anything by the half. They’re a very close-knit group and they’ve been amazing to work with.
“I guess it’s just disappointing because I know that Irish fighters have the best fans in the world behind them. I thought this could be something they could really get behind.”
Moore’s stock has been bolstered since his first outing with Bellator, but he noticed more interest than ever ahead of his second test with the promotion.
“My phone has not stopped since the Monday of fight week. I make it my business to get back to people because I’m so grateful for the support, but for the first time ever, I had to ignore my phone while I was away,” he said.
“Every minute I was getting messages asking me where the fight was being shown. People I’ve never heard of in my life were reaching out to me on social media wanting to see this fight.
“Bellator is brilliant, I’m delighted to be fighting under the banner, but it’s just disappointing that I haven’t been able to show all of the Irish supporters the hard work I put into this camp.”
Currently, Bellator is making the most significant moves ever to compete with the world’s flagship MMA promotion, UFC.
Signing a number of relevant names like Rory MacDonald, Benson Henderson, and Lorenz Larkin has brought a lot of attention to UFC’s main rival. The optimism in the organisation was underlined earlier this year when they announced their debut at Madison Square Garden on June 24, just seven months after McGregor became the first Irish MMA proponent to compete in the historic venue at UFC 205.
In the era of social media, it is imperative to watch sports live as the events unfold. The fact that Bellator has matched UFC’s high water mark by booking a Madison Square Garden show would make you believe that they were capable of establishing live broadcasts for their events. Not to mention the fact that Bellator is owned by powerhouse American media conglomerate, Viacom.
Bellator president Scott Coker announced that the Bellator 180 pay-per-view from the Garden would be live for all to see on June 24 in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.
When Helwani pushed Coker on the issue of Bellator’s UK and Irish broadcasts, the CEO insisted that it was something that was being worked on.
“When I asked Spike TV if they were in Ireland, they said ‘Yeah, we’re in Ireland’, and so I just thought we were covered,” said Coker. “Maybe he didn’t know, or I didn’t know. We have to figure this out.”
Bellator currently licenses its events to multiple broadcast networks in over 140 countries. As a fight promotion, you can be sure that they want as many eyes on its product as they can possibly muster. The only logical explanation is that Spike UK has yet to see the value in broadcasting Bellator events as they happen.
What’s on Spike UK while this weekend’s featherweight title fight between Daniel Strauss and Patricio Pitbull is taking place, you ask?
In this day and age, it’s hard to believe that such an antiquated medium can still bring in such a competitive viewership at three o’clock in the morning.
So far, Bellator’s emergence in the UK and Ireland has been great for the fighters, coaches and the media. Yet, without giving the fans a live broadcast experience, it’s going to be very hard for Bellator to compete with the UFC.
Certainly, had Brian Moore’s one-sided mauling of Michal Hořejší been shown on Irish TV, the Green Army’s campaign to get the Wexford man onto June’s Madison Square Garden card would have been heard from Newport Beach, California.