Edit: well this theory was made when chapter 714 was the latest chapter, but after chapter 720, when it was revealed Bartolomeo was a Luffy fanboy, my theory pretty much crumbled spectacularly. It was fun theorising who Bartolomeo was before we knew who he was (even though I was majorly wrong), but just like Oda-sensei has done many times before, he surprises us immensely – Sabo did get the Mera Mera no Mi though!
It was revealed in chapter 714 that Bartolomeo has some history with Strawhat [Luffy], a history that he made seem extends quite far into the past. From what we know the likely place Luffy and Bartolomeo could be connected by is Dawn Island. I’ve been trying to fit Bartolomeo into the events that took place there and the only way I can likely see Bartolomeo fitting in is if he is actually Bluejam’s son. That would establish the connection between Luffy and himself and explain why Luffy doesn’t recognise such a memorable face like Bartolomeo’s. Well that could be the case unless Bartolomeo was someone from past who ended up being sealed in time for years by some devil fruit or ability and the person who he is thinking about when he recognises Strawhat being mentioned is Gol D Roger who also wore the same strawhat Luffy is wearing. Bartolomeo didn’t specifically mention Luffy when he talked to Cavendish, he only reacted to the mention of Strawhat, so it is possible that some twisted sort of connection exist between Bartolomeo and Luffy. Anyway back to the theory of Bartolomeo being Bluejam’s son. Lets start with the many similarities within the facial features of Bluejam and Bartolomeo. The eyes and the way the eyes are emphasised by the forehead is something both these character share, they also both do not have any eyebrows. The temple structure is also similar for both characters. When both characters are in a happy angry mood, the creases on top their nose between their eyes and the vein which pops out along the forehead looks almost the same for both characters. Both characters have pointy ears, although in Bartolomeo’s case, his ears point more outward. Their lips, the way they smile and the way their teeth sit bear such a close resemblance, although for Bartolomeo, his teeth are sharper. Both characters have their hair styled back and as such it reveals a similar hair line along the face in both characters. Bartolomeo doesn’t need to look exactly like Bluejam, especially if he is Bluejam’s son, Bartolomeo just needs to look similar. Bartolomeo and Bluejam both show a common trait of cruelty and violence. Bluejam punished his subordinates for failing and didn’t mind killing children. Bartolomeo severely beat a marine to close to death for messing with his crew and didn’t mind kicking a man while he was down (i.e. Hack). Bluejam’s deepest wish was to become a noble, as they had wealth and a life he desperately desired. Bluejam in the past probably was subject to the cruelty of nobles in a severe way that from that moment onwards he began to hate being a pirate and made the decision to do whatever it takes to become a noble, which would explain why Bluejam went so far following the Goa Kingdom King’s orders in order to become a noble. When the King betray him and revealed his intention of not following through with the deal, Bluejam was obviously pissed. If Bluejam did survive the Gray Terminal incident, he probably cursed the nobles every single day and if he had a son with him, that must have rubbed off on him. Bartolomeo hates people, well at the very least, the citizens of Dressrosa watching the Corrida Colosseum. What if that hatred extends from his childhood, mainly the time he spent with his father. Hearing about the disgusting nature of the nobles and how they betrayed him, Bartolomeo’s view of them would obviously be one of negativity and if Bartolomeo managed to see first hand how nobles act in the world of One Piece, it would pretty much solidify the very impression of nobles he grew up with. There is also the element of Bartolomeo coming to hate how weak his father was, trying to kiss up to the nobles and become one, bending over backwards for them. As a reaction to the desperation of his father, Bartolomeo could have made it part of his duty to avoid the path his father followed and to deal with the nobles in his own way, never caving into them and their demands and ways. It’s important to note that Bartolomeo didn’t kill anyone in this scene, he just wanted to show the disgusting nature of people, specifically those spectating at the Corrida Colosseum, and how they only care about their own lives. While Bartolomeo hasn’t killed anyone yet, from what we’ve seen, he does have a twisted side and that most likely originates from his childhood and the potential negativity he had to bear when having a father like Bluejam. As for how Bartolomeo is potentially connected to Luffy, there is the happenings between Luffy and the Bluejam pirates, but I would say it is from something much deeper. What if Bartolomeo is actually an agent in the Revolutionary Army and is connected in some way to Sabo? Bartolomeo doesn’t refer to Luffy as Luffy when he first hears the mention of Strawhat, he repeats Strawhat in his mind and this could indicate that he is associated with Luffy through the mention of him by Sabo when Strawhat Luffy appears in the news. Bartolomeo tells Cavendish that Lucy won’t die by his hands so Bartolomeo is apparently aware of the strength Luffy holds and this could be due to the praise Sabo gives Luffy whenever talking about him to Bartolomeo. Sabo could have been the one to recommend the Revolutionary Army to recruit Bartolomeo after he found out who Bartolomeo really was and what Bartolomeo had to go through. What scenario took place, a connection between Sabo and Bartolomeo would have been formed.
I am aware that it has been stated in One Piece Green that Sabo is dead, but the cover page of chapter 668 and what Oda-sensei stated in the SBS of volume 68 rips open the possibility that Sabo is alive via the three sake cups there.
It may likely not have anything to do with Sabo, but after seeing that cover page, you cannot say with 100% certainty and confidence that Sabo is definitely dead and has no way of returning back into the story of One Piece. The possibility that Sabo could be alive still exist and that is all that is needed to convey that this theory about Bartolomeo is also possible regardless of its likeliness. Also concerning the argument about why Sabo didn’t help save Ace when he was being executed it could the same reason for why Garp and Dadan didn’t try to save Ace – they were either bound by duty or didn’t have enough power to stop it. And for all we know it could have been Sabo [and the Revolutionary Army] who helped Shanks fight off Kaido and arrive at Marineford in time to stop the war when Kaido tried to take advantage of Ace’s execution to attack Whitebeard – there is a reason for why this battle hasn’t been covered in detailed yet I feel. Now “Bartolomeo the Cannibal”, a pirate known for his cruelty of gunning down “innocent” civilians and ranked number #1 on the “pirate we wish most to disappear” list being a member of the Revolutionary Army is something so outrageous and shocking that there is no way that it is possible, but within that impossibility something possible actually exist…Doflamingo himself said – “the notion that ‘he’d never do something as outrageous as that’ is what creates blind spots in us humans!” Doflamingo is quite the cunning man playing Law and the Strawhats like that, but he himself is just as vulnerable to those exploits he used on them, and the time when Doflamingo is severely caught off guard and profusely shocked, I feel will involve Bartolomeo. Also given the fact that Doflamingo is related to the Tenryuubito in some way, if Bartolomeo does have a hatred for nobles and the Tenryuubito then it would be extremely relevant and fitting to see him have some hand in foiling Doflamingo’s plans (and the inevitable beating he will suffer). The motives of the Revolutionary Army haven’t been revealed yet, but they seek to liberate nations from corrupt and twisted governments as well as stop the government systems involving the World Nobles and slavery. Dressrosa under it’s fun and luxurious appearance is actually a very twisted and wretched nation, especially with the issues involving the toys and the Corrida Colosseum. Doflamingo is an important figure in the underworld and has much influence in the New World, the Revolutionary Army likely realises this and they probably are aware of the existence of the SMILE factory and the danger it serves towards the world and future they envision. As a countermeasure against this obstacle, they have dispatched Bartolomeo to deal with the secret SMILE factory. The suitcase Bartolomeo is carrying likely contains some bomb or ‘thing’ to deal with the SMILE factory – the contents seem quite heavy and dangerous..: Bartolomeo’s label as “the Cannibal” could just be the result of the mission he was given – ‘seemingly appear to ruthless and dangerous within the pirate world without making the World Government suspicious of your true identity’. Bartolomeo has not killed anyone yet and beyond some hearsay about him killing “innocent” civilians and exhibiting a certain level of cruelty, he doesn’t seem so bad. Just like Trafalgar Law, who is called the “Surgeon of Death” and said to have been infamous for his cruelty and cut the hearts out of one hundred pirates sending them to the government in order to gain the position of Shichibukai, everything describing them may just have been an extreme exaggeration of the truth.
Concerning the Mera Mera no Mi, it’s obvious Luffy won’t let anyone he doesn’t approve have it, so thinking along those lines; excluding Ace, who would Luffy want to have the Mera Mera no Mi? The perfect candidate would be Sabo of course
and if Sabo is a member of the Revolutionary Army, Bartolomeo could be talking about wanting to give the Mera Mera no Mi to him.
It would be really cool to see someone so close to Ace carry on his legacy and life through the Mera Mera no Mi, and as far as we know, Sabo was Ace’s first close friend.
Luffy will most likely end up winning the Corrida Colosseum and after finding out Bartolomeo’s close connection to someone he knows in the Revolutionary Army (Bartolomeo doesn’t have to specifically mention Sabo) as well as Bartolomeo’s plans for the SMILE factory and Doflamingo, Luffy will likely give the Mera Mera no Mi to him. There are a ton of assumptions I’ve made in regards to this theory, but I feel even if a small possibility, this theory does lay out a possible route in which Bartolomeo’s character and this arc can develop in. Thank you for reading! And yeah, there is also the possibility that Bartolomeo is Gekko Moria’s son as they also look similar and as Moria himself has beef with Doflamingo. After Bartolomeo and Luffy team up to take on Doflamingo and destroy the SMILE factory it could lead to a Moria and Luffy temporary alliance when they take on Kaido.