Bellator’s “Fightmaster” Episode 2 Breakdown – Thoughts, A Review and What We Learned

Another week and another “Fightmaster,” Bellator’s answer to “The Ultimate Fighter” is back on the airwaves. Time to take a look at the show and figure out what we learned, et al.

— The coaching format is an interesting one.

Having the fighters pick between them, ala The Voice, is one thing that’s beginning to grow on me. Hearing the four interact during the fight, as well as before and after it, gives the show something unique. There’s a certain gamesmanship to it that the UFC’s show doesn’t quite have. There’s more camaraderie between them than on “TUF” as well; it’s a group of guys just relaxing without any sort of built-in rivalry. There are some good moments in there.

— The talent isn’t as good as TUF talent

And that’s saying a lot but you can tell just how awful the talent pool really is by seeing the guys auditioning for this show. The talent isn’t awful per se; there are some talented fighters on the show. It’s just they have two to three years and probably a minimum of eight fights before we can see how good they can be. It’s a lot of guys who are so raw it’s hard to call them prospects; they haven’t graduated from young fighter school to prospect school just yet.

— The show would’ve worked better with an opening episode with all the fight-ins instead of having it broken up

The introductory fights are something that’s perfunctory but we rarely remember what happens during the fight-ins. Seeing what happens when they train, et al, is why we watch the show and having the process drawn out over two episodes makes it feel kind of boring so far. We want to see them move on into the house, et al, and the process of establishing teams feels significantly more drawn out than it should be. The fact that it’ll be three episodes plus before we even know who’s on each team is way too drawn out.

— Eric Bradley is the best fighter on the show so far

It’s not even close. This isn’t exactly a high distinction but Bradley looks a couple fights (and a good camp change) from being ready to get on that RFA main card level proving ground to get into the UFC. He’s got the athletic talent, et al, but he isn’t quite as polished as he should be. He’d be out of the UFC quickly if he got signed right now but he has the requisites to both win the show and potentially be a guy who could make a run in either the UFC or Bellator at some point in the near future.

— The show’s editing improved in the second episode … but is still awful

This is a show that feels like it’s padded up to an hour from 45 minutes. A good reality show of this nature should feel breezy and move quickly from break to break; this feels plodding and slow. They cut to commercial at the worst times on a consistent basis to try and make it a Dan Brown novel: nothing but cliffhangers. After a while it becomes predictable at best and obnoxious at its worst.

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