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Bjorn Rebney wants Bellator vs. Strikeforce 3-on-3 series on PPV

By Zach Arnold | October 29, 2010

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From our friends at The Fight Nerd web site starting around the 5 minute time mark, notes about what Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney would like to do for an interpromotional feud with Strikeforce and being on PPV.

INTERVIEWER: “I’m not even going to say a question here, I’m just going to say a phrase. You can respond… Bellator vs. Strikeforce.”

BJORN REBNEY: “I love it. I keep talking about it. I’m hopeful that it could occur. I’m hopeful that it could occur beyond just Eddie Alvarez vs. Gilbert (Melendez). I would love to set up a Welterweight fight, a big super fight at Welterweight. I would, you know, I would do anything to set up a Middleweight fight. I can only imagine that if there’s hesitancy on their part in terms of taking a Lightweight fight that they’re probably going to be very, very hesitant to take on a Middleweight fight as well. We would do it. We would do it without problem.”

INTERVIEWER: “Co-promoting is not a problem?”

BJORN REBNEY: “No! Not only is it not a problem, but we wouldn’t even have to do a typical orchestration of a co-promotional event where everybody argues and fights and scratches and claws. We would go to San Jose, I know some… I married a woman in my first marriage from San Jose, there’s some spectacular restaurants and great hotels, we would make ourselves at home, we would come in and we would take three fights. It would be great. From a fan perspective, with the CEO hat off, I mean can you see Ben Askren fighting Nick Diaz? Can you see Eddie Alvarez and Gilbert Melendez? Jacare versus Hector Lombard?”

INTERVIEWER: “Bjorn Rebney vs. Scott Coker could happen.”

BJORN REBNEY: “Scott’s great. I love talking to Scott. He’s a good dude. I can understand his hesitancy, but I like him a lot. I’d love to do that. Would love to do that.”

(clipped — moving to questions about original TV deal and the current deal.)

INTERVIEWER: “Back then, you guys were talking more of the Latino audience. Now it seems like you moved away from that, kind of evolved in your formatting on how you put a show on TV, your target audiences. What’s going to be the next step in the evolution of Bellator?”

BJORN REBNEY: “Well, I mean, the evolution over to the general market audience is based on Fox Sports Net coupled with NBC. between the two of them you’re talking about 200 million homes. So, the show went from being an ESPN Deportes to being a Fox Sports Network/NBC show, everything turning, our signage, all the bumps, all the teases, all the interplay of the announcer play, it turned into that show which is great because that’s where you got to be from a crossover perspective in MMA so, um, you know, the next step in the evolution will be to do away with some of the issues and problems we faced on the delay basis with FSN and that will be the next stage in the evolution. The production will keep getting better, we’ll keep recruiting world-class fighters, we’ll keep bringing in the next Ben Askren, the next Joe Warren, the next Dan Hornbuckle, the next Hector Lombard, the next Eddie Alvarez, on and on and on. .. We’re just going to keep recruiting and creating through our television vehicle and through the frequency of our events new stars that are underneath the Bellator banner. The evolution of a brand like ours is about consistently taking steps forward and we’re going to be in position to take another pretty good step forward in the very near future and I think that step forward will eliminate some of the last remaining issues with our distribution platforms, so, um, you know we’re going to keep moving forward but can’t announce it right here.”

INTERVIEWER: “What are your thoughts about a Bellator PPV?”

BJORN REBNEY: “I mean, I don’t mean to keep going back to it, but you know, in and around New Year’s and the kind of fights we’re talking about in terms of the potential for co-promotion with Strikeforce, I think that would make for a spectacular PPV. I always look at stuff, I separate myself and I say, would I buy that? Would I pay for that? And there are some shows that I look at and go, ‘ehhhhh, probably not. And then are some shows that I look at and go, whoa, I would stay at home for that, you know, and I would irritate the kids, etc. and I would buy it and I would watch every piece of it. That’s the kind of show that I would buy. So, that might have the makings of a PPV but it’s going to take, it’s just like a marriage, you know, you can’t get into without the acquiescence of both parties so they need to say yes.”

Topics: Bellator, Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 37 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

37 Responses to “Bjorn Rebney wants Bellator vs. Strikeforce 3-on-3 series on PPV”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    Co-promotion is never a problem for the less popular of the 2 organizations. In terms of popularity….. UFC > Strikeforce > Bellator

    So it isn’t shocking that Strikeforce was willing to co-promote with the UFC but is not balking at the idea of co-promoting with Bellator. It does no benefit to Scott Coker. So Coker is being smart about basically not talking about this co-promotion and really doing nothing about it. Rebney can talk until he is blue in the face, but he has really nothing to offer. None of this fighters have any sort of popularity that make it an enticing event, and especially not for PPV.

    All this talk he has about fixing the problem with their TV deal are interesting. I can’t tell if he is just talking straight out of his behind or if he has another bland deal in the works that he is trying to hype up much more then it really deserves.

    Either way, Bellator has become the ultimate abyss for fighters. Outside of the initial $100,000 tournament payday for fighting 3 times in 3 months and winning it…. There isn’t much upside for prospects to be in Bellator when they have shown absolutely no ability to get quality challengers for their champions for the future.

    • I’m not a big fan of Bellator, but honestly, most of the guys they have signed don’t belong in the UFC or Strikeforce’s upper echelons. Ben Askren is fighting exactly the kind of guys he should fight. I wouldn’t even want to see him make a huge move up in class for another year or two. Why rush a kid like that?

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Lombard is ready.

        Askren needs to take that next step above Hornbuckle and Good. Not the top of the elite guys, but that class between the Hornbuckles and Fitch’s of the world. Guys like Condit, Kampmann, Sanchez, and others. But Bellator cannot provide that to him. They are retarding his career growth at this point.

        • Askren doesn’t need to take that step because right now, he’ll lose. He’s been a pro fighter less than two years – demanding he go fight top 15 talents right now is unnecessary. He needs to fight the kind of guys he is that can give him resistance and test him on aspects of his game without mauling him and blowing his confidence.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          What guy in Bellator is going to show him resistence?

          He needs a submission guy to test his anti-submission ability. He needs a good counter grappler to test his striking skills. Neither of those types of fighters are currently available in Strikeforce.

          So what you are saying is nice, but there is nobody to actually give him those tests where he currently is.

        • Soto gave him plenty of resistance. Yes, he won most of the fight, but he was forced to work for position, avoid submissions, and nearly got caught with an upkick in the 5th round. You can learn in fights you win. The last thing he needs to face is a solid kickboxer who can defend the takedown or throw their hips, because with his lack of experience, he’ll just lose.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          So a rematch with a guy he just beat?

          I’m just asking who should he fight next and you didn’t provide one name.

        • Ben Askren never fought Josh Neer, who is a natural welterweight. Obviously they have a tournament set, should they exist in a few months, in the welterweight division. In the meantime, if they’re looking solely to already contracted fighters, Yoshiyuki Yoshida works fine. He won the Cage Force tourney years back and proved to be a gatekeeper style opponent in the UFC. He offers legitimate submission skills and the claim of fighting international competition while posing only a slight modicum of threat. Then afterwards he’ll have a tournament winner to fight or whoever else Bellator feels they might want to sign on the free agent market. Is someone going to be offended if he fights Jason High?

      • robthom says:

        Not an out of my way fan of bellator myself.

        But I was duly impressed when Alverez kicked the stuff out of Hurta.

        And that Bellator was down for it.

        I was also impressed with the altruism of dream offering Aoki up for slaughter.

        (“pride” would have never done that!)

        Its an angle that UFC cannot afford, and that non-UFC could take advantage of IMO.

  2. Jonathan says:

    With the UFC merger of the WEC, it kind of makes other news between Bellator and Strikeforce seem rather ho-hum and/or pointless.

    I know. I’m starting to sound like 45 Huddle.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Coming over to the darkside I see….

      But I know what you mean. Something about the UFC/WEC merger makes it feel like even more then before…. That if it’s not in the UFC, it is sort of left out.

      I can’t exactly put my finger on why that is the overall feeling… Heck it’s not like Zuffa purchased a competitor….

  3. Chuck says:

    I would like to see a card such as this. I hope there would be more than three fucking fights on it though. Besides Melendez/Alvarez, what other inter-promotion fights would there be? Jacare vs. Lombard? Cole Konrad/Bigfoot Silva (or if they can actually get Overeem to fight)? Zoila Frausto/Cris Cyborg? That last one would be a doozy.

    • Tommy says:

      If you have personal vendettas against Konrad & Frausto I can see how those match-ups could be compelling ….lol

      For a pure fan perspective the only match-up between Bellator and Strikeforce that compels me is Alvarez vs. Melendez. Any other “dream” fight gets a shrug.

      The words PPV and anything Bellator just comes off as a hail mary play.BFC does good with tournaments and picking up prospects that need a healthy fight schedule to develop

  4. Zack says:

    LOL @ “on PPV”

    Bellator & Strikeforce are awesome cuz they ARENT ON PPV. If they went to the PPV model they’d lose a lot of supporters like myself.

    • Chuck says:

      I absolutely agree, but both companies (especially SF) have said in the past that they want to eventually go on ppv. If there is one way to do it, a card like this is the way to do it. It’s the only way at this point. Not even Fedor vs. an in-house opponent (even Overeem) would sell because Fedor already had two SF fights on free TV (one being CBS, the other being Showtime which is a pay channel though). And no way in HELL does Bellator have a chance in hell of selling a ppv on their own.

    • Phil says:

      They are saying on PPV because they have a better chance of arguing for more money that way because neither have done PPV before.

      This is M1 vs the UFC all over again. Rebney is doing a better job than M1 did to make it seem like this co-promotion is logical and will make everyone happy, and Strikeforce is doing a much worse job than the UFC did to argue that this doesn’t make sense for them.

  5. Cole says:

    This would be a disaster on PPV. Also, what if one promotion goes 0-3? That promotion is no longer viable as their top stars were defeated by their rival.

  6. David M says:

    Alan is correct. 45 I don’t understand your opposition to promotions other than the UFC; do you think fighters are just born ready for the UFC? The argument for building fighters up more slowly, as is done in boxing, is so that they gradually face higher quality guys and get used to facing various situations, rather than just throwing them in the deep end. Cole Konrad is going to turn out to be a beast; he is learning how to fight slowly. Obviously Lesnar would kill every heavyweight in Bellator, and because he is such a freak athlete he has done very well in the UFC, but spending 2 years on the smaller shows would have certainly done him some good as a fighter.

    Also, in terms of your comment saying that Bellator is an abyss, there aren’t exactly tons of opportunities for mma fighters. It isn’t like PRIDE is still around or there are lots of big promoters out there ready to pay 6 figures a fight (or even 5 figures).

    • Cole Konrad may never be “good” in so much as he becomes a world class competitor that regularly is talked about in title discussion for any promotion. But right now, who does he deserve to fight? When I look at the top 50 heavyweights, and I think about who he’s fought, man – what’s the rush? Let him fight Tim Hague, Dave Herman, or Aaron Rosa. I wouldn’t even risk him fighting Marcio Cruz for another 8-12 months. He doesn’t obviously doesn’t feel comfortable going after finishes when he has dominant position – what do you gain by letting him get submitted? There’s no net win if he gets his knee or ankle twisted off.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Nothing wrong with building up fighters slowly. The UFC does it when they see a really good prospect like Jon Jones or Phil Davis.

      But that isn’t the issue. The issue is that when these fighters are ready…. They won’t be able to make that next step up in competition. That the championship clause in Bellator causes more problems then anything else.

      Look at Hector Lombard. He is not a prospect. He has enough experience to compete in the UFC. Yet he is unable to do so because there is no way for him to get out of his contract and make the next step up.

      Ben Askren is basically ready for that next step up in competition. And Bellator is unable to provide that for him. He has already beaten the two best guys in their division….. Hornbuckle and Good. For him to grow as a fighter, it would need to happen where talent is available for him to make those constant steps up in competition.

      I’m not saying Lombard or Askren are future world champions. But they are absolutely wasting away in the abyss that is Bellator. Feeder organizations are great. As you said, fighters need to have places where they get the experience early in their careers. But when those feeder organizations don’t know their place on the pecking order, and hold onto talent far beyond what is health for their career growth, they become more a cancer to the sport then a helpful benefit.

      And that is what Bellator is doing right now. They are hurting the career of young prospects by not realizing they are an organization that should be building talent, not trying to acquire them.

      • Guys like Sanchez and Condit are just a couple fights removed from GSP. They are top ten fighters. Askren shouldn’t even have the top ten in his mind right now for at least 12 months. He goes there now and he loses to these guys and ends up someone nobody cares about, a la Mike Pierce. Stupid, stupid plan.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Above you said: “He needs to fight the kind of guys he is that can give him resistance and test him on aspects of his game without mauling him and blowing his confidence.”

          What do you think Carlos Condit would do? He would test his submission ability. So would Diego Sanchez.

          There is nobody in Bellator that has the skills to neutralize his wrestling but still give him a test in other areas of MMA. There is no fighter that can stop his takedown and force him to strike. There is no fighter that is going to submit him despite all of the really bad positions he puts himself in. That talent for those next steps just aren’t in Bellator. Which is why he is wasting himself at this point.

        • Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez are also much more experienced foes. Diego’s been training about 4 times as long as Askren for MMA and has spent most of the last 4 years in the top 10-15 of whatever division he’s in. If Askren was 35 and needed to find out whether or not he could compete with the divisions elite right now, yeah, Diego or Condit would be great fights. But he isn’t at that point and doesn’t need to be. He needs to be fighting John Alessios and Delson Helenos, not Diego Sanchezes. You’d be an awful manager.

      • David M says:

        Ben Askren is not wasting away; he has been a professional for a very brief period. In his last fight he was hardly dominant; he needs another year or so fighting guys of this caliber before he will be ready to beat guys in the UFC.

        Further, why are you acting like the existence of good fighters in Bellator is an affront to your humanity? When have you ever cared about fighters? This is like being in bizarro world.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          So he needs another year of fighting guys who have absolutely no ability of beating him?

          What he needs now is to fight a guy who can neutralize his wrestling to some capacity. Doesn’t have to block every single takedown attempt he has, but puts up a little more fight then Hornbuckle or Good showed (which was zero).

          Askren needs somebody who will make it harder for him to get the takedown so he is forced to work off his feet more. He needs somebody who is enough of a submission threat that it forces him improve his grappling game to that next level.

          Who in Bellator can provide that for him?

          In the UFC, he could easily grow at a better rate fighting guys like Ricardo Almeida, Jake Ellenberger, Johnny Hendricks, John Howard, Dong Hyun Kim, Rory MacDonald, Mike Pierce, Matt Riddle, and others.

          Prospects need to be in there with other prospects to improve their game. Not with fighters who have no chance of beating them.

        • David M says:

          I will agree to disagree with you on this. In my opinion, if someone is winning hardly-dominant decisions, it can’t be said that he is so far above his competition that he needs to move up to face world-class fighters so he can lose. He needs time to get the confidence to apply new skills and moves he has learned in the gym in actual fights, preferably against guys who he can make mistakes against and still win. It doesn’t do him any favors to come to the UFC when he is still a raw prospect.

        • Yes. He needs another year of prep against guys he will be favored to beat. What does he learn from a 1:30 submission loss to Martin Kampmann that he couldn’t theoretically learn fighting a competent but not outstanding submission fighter like Josh Neer?

          No reason for him to get bounced around by more experienced guys. Does zero for his career.

  7. To me, the biggest thing about this fight is that internet MMA fans are basically saying they don’t want it. Really. That’s what I get out of this – Showtime can demand the fight from Strikeforce and push them to working together to make the bout happen. That’s what Showtime is there for. But I don’t think people want to see that happen. They would rather Melendez fight a lesser opponent because its “promotionally smarter” than to see Showtime use their muscle to make a better, more compelling fight.

    Its a class A example of douchebags on the internet thinking that they’re smarter than the sport. Hopefully Showtime doesn’t listen and forces Coker’s hand.

    • MK says:

      This is all Showtimes fault. Why are they giving exclusive contracts to Strikeforce and only promoting their paper belt? Or why are they even considering letting M-1 get a set number of shows?

      It screams of laziness because they don’t want to deal with more then one promoter. Or if they are thinking of promoting their own brand of MMA it’s major fail since that will never work. Just promote the fights themselves and maybe people will get over the vs the UFC mentality.

      If they just follow their boxing business plan then the co-promotion wouldn’t even be an issue because it would force the fights since Strikeforce/Bellator have nowhere else to go for decent money.

  8. Bryan says:

    I wonder if one of the reasons Scott Coker isn’t responding to Rebney is at some point Bellator may fold and Strikeforce will just wait and cherry pick who they want to (or more like who Zuffa doesn’t grab.)

  9. David M says:

    I can’t figure out how Bellator is still in business; does anyone know how they are doing in terms of attendance at their shows/how much their TV deal is worth? I am glad they are still around and they have a good product, it is just hard to get/maintain/grow a fan base when you are on fucking Fox Sports Net, the worst channel on television due to the helter-skelter nature of their programming, the high cancellation rate, and the incredible lack of pull/buzz/viewers that the channel has.

    • robthom says:

      Maybe the overhead isn’t to much.

      Like KOTC.

      But then how do they afford name brand dudes like that?


      But even if its drug money, I wouldn’t find that much more offensive then my tax bucks going to corporate bailouts and octomoms.


      Entertain me!

  10. 45 Huddle says:

    Things just got ugly….

    Rebney released a few texts messages that he sent to Coker after Coker said Rebney never tried to contract him.

    This little war between Rebney and Coker is just going to pull them both down into the mud and make them both look bad.

    The thing is that Rebney has nothing to lose and is scum so he doesn’t care.

  11. grafdog says:

    Coker is pretty much out to lunch, nothing he says is to be believed.

    • robthom says:

      Bullstuff you little bastardiouchio!

      Who else is the last man standing?





      Think again, and then I’ll trounce you some more!


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