As if two men fighting inside a cage wasn't enough already.
This Saturday, September 19 (9 P.M. EST on Spike TV), Bellator MMA presents Dynamite 1, the first in a line of hybrid events that cross promote mixed martial arts alongside Glory kickboxing.
Conceptualized by Bellator President Scott Coker as the next level of combat sports entertainment, Dynamite 1 is meant to be more than just a novel display of martial arts. The event, which is headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between incumbent champion Liam McGeary and Tito Ortiz, also features a four-man, one-night tournament, paying homage to the early days of MMA, when combatants would fight multiple times in a single night.
A former light heavyweight champion with Bellator, Emanuel Newton looks to reclaim the belt he lost in February in the semi-finals, taking on promotional newcomer and UFC veteran Phil Davis. On the other side of the bracket, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal and Linton Vassell, a pair of former title challengers, will square off with a spot in the tournament finals on the line.
It's a risky endeavor for Bellator, which abandoned its initial tournament format when Coker signed on with the organization in mid 2014. But with semi-final bouts limited to two, five-minute rounds and a pair of reserves on hand in case of injury or disqualification, Bellator will likely find the best candidate to challenge the winner of McGeary and Ortiz for the next shot at the belt.
Along with the 16 MMA fights slated on the fight card, one of which includes former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson making his Bellator debut, Dynamite 1 will also feature a handful of kickboxing matches under the Glory banner, bouts that will take place in a separate ring enclosure, positioned parallel to the circular MMA cage.
With former UFC fighter and MMA regular Paul Daley perhaps the most recognizable name on the Glory portion of the card, it is yet another pair of light heavyweights who will receive top billing, as Brazilian Saulo Cavalari and Zack Mwekassa, who hails from the Congo, vie for the vacant title.
Unlike any combat sports event that has ever come before it, Dynamite 1 has the potential to turn MMA fans on to the intricacies and nuances of kickboxing, and vice versa, with little chance to alienate either core audience. The cross-promotional effort is also aided, tremendously, by Viacom, the parent company of both combat leagues, which has gambled big on MMA and kickboxing for years.
Bellator Dynamite 1 takes place at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.