Bellator 186: Logan Storley Is Coming into His Own at an Interesting Time for MMA

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Logan Storley
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

As his identity grows, along with his status in the sport, what’s the ideal situation for Logan moving forward?

“I want to be world champion when I’m twenty-seven years old” he stated. “That’s kind of the goal I set.”

“I started MMA when I was twenty-three, twenty-four years old; obviously going to college, you get a later start than some guys who start when they’re twenty years old, or nineteen. I had to go to college for four years to get my degree, and finish my wrestling career. For me, I want my hands around that belt, I want that gold.” Winning it all is a huge factor, something he couldn’t accomplish in his collegiate wrestling days. “I never got it in college, I never got to be a national champ. That’s one of the main reasons I went into MMA so fast. This is why I’m taking it to extremes, I never got to accomplish that. I was in the semi-finals three years in a row, then three heartbreaking losses. For me it’s being the best in the world.”

“It’ll be interesting to see where MMA will be in two years, what the money fights will look like then.”

That means becoming welterweight champion, but that’s not the only goal. “In the future obviously you want to hold that belt” said Storley, but added that “you get into this sport for two reasons, to be called the best in the world, and to make money. You don’t put your body through what we put it through, go through eight to ten weeks of training camp, and cut weight for nothing.”

“For me, it’s to continue to improve, and be a world champ, and then after that, you gotta start looking at what the future holds” Storley added. “Right now a lot of guys are looking at those big money fights. We’re seeing it more and more and more, guys just want one or two more big money fights, and then they’re done.”

“It’ll be interesting to see where MMA will be in two years, what the money fights will look like then.”

That brought up the question of where the sport is headed, and the path the UFC is taking, something that Storley had his own take on.

At the end of the day, it’s a business. When they [WME] bought the deal, it was a business deal. When the Fertittas sold it, they made a lot of money off it. It’s the fight business. It’s just business in general. Whatever they can make a lot of money off of, that’s obviously what they’re going to do. It sold for $4.2 billion, they’re not paying that off overnight. They have to take the right steps, and I just saw, their pay-per-views this year have been horrible. I think 216, early reports said like 120,000 buys. I know there hasn’t been a lot of pay-per-views — you know the average right now for the last couple is like 200,000, 300,000. I remember back when I was in high school, an average pay-per-view was doing 500,000 buys. But there’s just so many fights now. Friday night, there’s Bellator on, UFC Fight Pass, local shows — there’s just so many shows. You can watch MMA every single weekend. There’s multiple shows.

I don’t see those big money fights changing. I don’t see, if something makes sense and they think they can make money by doing Conor vs. Nate Diaz instead of Conor vs. Tony Ferguson, they’ll probably do Nate Diaz, the third fight.

Storley went on to say that he saw the “Money Fight” as a positive for MMA, overall. “The Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight, I heard more people talk about that fight… people who knew nothing about MMA, and they knew Conor’s life, and they knew everything about Floyd. They talked about it for weeks and weeks, every bar you walked into, every restaurant, anywhere, people talked about that fight.”

That sort of attention can only be good for mixed martial arts. “People talked about it more than we talk the Superbowl, at least for the two weeks leading up to the Superbowl. People talked, it was perfect timing, in August there’s nothing much going on in the sports world. If they can get more fights like that, you bet they’re going to take them.”

“I think it was great, I really do” he continued. “I thought it was great for the sport of MMA to have that fight. The whole world talked about it, watched it. [Then they] look at Conor’s past fights, learn more about the sport of MMA. I think we’ll continue to see fights like that, I think we’ll continue to see big money fights.”

Talk then turned back to Bellator, as Logan Storley chose Scott Coker’s promotion over the UFC when it came time to jump up to the big leagues. The obvious question was, why?

“For me it just made more sense. I’ve seen what they’ve done with their young up-and-comers, and they’re promoted them well.”

That’s not the only reason, of course. Another big factor: the Reebok deal. In Bellator, “I get to keep my sponsors.” The impact of that deal is not lost on Storley, who shows a knack for understanding the business of MMA despite his relatively young age. “You hear about it every single fight card. My first four fights in the UFC, whether I was headlining a card or I was on Fight Pass, I was going to make $2,500 a fight. For me, that’s not appealing to me whatsoever. I didn’t get into this sport to make $2,500 off of sponsors. That was a big thing for me.”

“I see a lot of guys go on a run in the UFC, win a few fights, and all of a sudden you don’t hear about them for a year, because there’s so many fighters” he added. “They’ve got to put on so many fights. Sometimes guys get lost in the shuffle.”

In the end, “Bellator came to me, we have a good relationship, I like what Scott Coker’s doing, so Bellator made the most sense to me. That’s where I’m at right now, and I’m happy with it.”

With all the big signings in Bellator of late, Storley is clear that’s he’s really excited for the future.

“It’s a deep division, it’s got a lot of young guys, a lot of guys that have well known names” he said of Bellator’s welterweight ranks. “I’m excited for that, I’m excited to go in there and compete against the best guys in the world. I see myself right up there, it’s only my second fight in Bellator, and it’s only my seventh fight, so I’ve got to take care of some things first, but I’m excited. I think in the next few fights, I’ll definitely be where I can be challenging for that title in the next a year and a half.”

The struggles of UFC fighters moving over to Bellator are not lost on him, either.

“Larkin was a top five guy in the UFC, top seven for sure. And he’s 0-2 in Bellator. That tells you right there that the Bellator roster is real. These fighters are just as good, if not better than the UFC guys.” It was an eye-opener. “For me, and I think for a lot of people, it opened their eyes. The 170lb division is the real deal in Bellator. These guys are right there, if not better, than the 170lb division [in the UFC].”

As for his own place in the division, “I’m ready to continue to climb the ladder, and start challenging those guys soon.”

So with a win at Bellator 186, what’s next? Who’s the next rung on that ladder? “No one really pops out to me right now, it’s just about getting these first few wins out of the way” he told us. “Once I’m a top ten guy, then I’ll start calling my shots.”

Of course, it’s hard not to think ahead, as Storley later admitted “there’s definitely some guys on my radar, but for me right now the most important thing is taking care of Matt Secor on November 3, then we’ll go from there.”

You can catch Logan Storley taking care of Matt Secor Friday as part of Bellator 186’s preliminary card, live on bellator.spike.com — followed by the main card on Spike TV starting at 9PM EST.

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