Bellator's Rebney: We do things differently

by Zach Arnold | source:

USA Today broke the story earlier in the week about Viacom (Spike) buying out Bellator and the promotion making its Spike debut in 2013. Hours after that announcement, Bjorn Rebney talked with Mauro Ranallo about how the deal came about and what it means for the landscape of the sport.

“We’re going to be transitioning to Spike in 2013. In the interim, we’ll be building out the brand and increasing and improving every element of what we do on MTV2 and EPIX & It just gives us an incredible opportunity to work with really smart people who understand our sport backward and forward to build this out and to continue to build traction around our tournament format, our objectivity and some of the greatest fighters on the face of the Earth. So, it gives us every tool to build this out for many, many, many years to come.”

“I think the strongest place to kind of focus every piece of your energy and every piece of your team’s energy is doing what you can do with your brand in building out the fighters, finding the best talent, creating the best feature pieces and stories behind those fighters, improving every element of production for the TV audience, improving every element for the live in-house audience. I respect what the UFC does, I respect what they’ve accomplished. I’ve watched a lot of their shows and if you’re an MMA fan, and this is what’s always shocked me, and if you’re not a fan of the UFC then you’re not an MMA fan. The reality is that regardless of whether you started watching when Royce (Gracie) was fighting in a gi or whether you’ve been watching of late, they’ve got some great fighters and some great talent.

"We do things differently. We have an objective format. We have what I refer to as a true, real-sport format much like basketball & baseball & hockey & soccer & golf. Athletes compete and the best of the best makes it to the championship and if you win that fight, you’re crowned champion. They have a different format, neither of which are right or wrong, it’s just we’ve chosen one and they’ve chosen another. So, it is what it is.

"There’s two players in the (MMA) space. They do great shows, they got a great alliance with a great media conglomerate and we’ve got a great alliance with the people who kind of created this position in the sports entertainment arena. It will be what it will be relative to competition and the like.”

“We’ve been kind of hyperfocused on developing our own talent. I mean, developing the Ben Askrens and the Joe Warrens and the Eddie Alvarezs and the Hector Lombards and the Pitbull Brothers and all these different fighters who have been kind of homegrown Bellator talent. So, I don’t know, I don’t know. I mean, the space has gotten much smaller. There’re very few of us in the (MMA) space at this point. There’s UFC and there’s Bellator, so I don’t know if that will mean that bidding wars will occur but, you know, we’re hyperfocused on recruiting the best talent out there from every conceivable corner of the globe. So, you know, we’ll see. We’ll see how it works. I think we’re going to continue our format of really trying to build out stars from within, develop them under the Bellator banner, and let them blossom and become stars.”

“I’m going to look at all the numbers and then that’s going to ultimately, sitting down with our partners at Spike and at MTV networks, determine what night we’re on. I want to be on the night where we’ve got the opportunity to reach the largest number of fans and have the opportunity for them to see Bellator and some of the really exciting content, the really exciting events, and incredible Bellator moments that we’re putting on week after week after week. So, I don’t know. There are advantages to Saturday nights relative to audiences. … A lot of fans coming out to the fans but there are disadvantages to Saturday nights, obviously, as well because you’re going head-to-head with PPVs the UFC is doing. So, we’re going to weigh and balance. I don’t really have a favorite night because we haven’t sat down and looked at all the numbers but we will and then we’ll make a determination and those numbers will bare it out.”

“It’s an endorsement by one of the largest, most powerful, most innovative entertainment companies on the face of the Earth. They reach 600 million people with their entertainment content. They are available in virtually every country on the face of the Earth. These guys… this team of people at Viacom are as smart as there is in the entertainment business and they have made a real investment in the future of Mixed Martial Arts. It happens to be Bellator and that’s great for me and for the people who work at Bellator and the fighters who fight here.

"But it’s a bigger statement. It’s a statement that a huge media giant that’s very powerful and has every conceivable piece of information at their disposal says that Mixed Martial Arts is here to stay, it’s going to grow exponentially, and we are behind it to make it grow exponentially and that’s a very, very loud statement for our sport. It’s a very loud statement for our sport. I’m thrilled that it’s our brand that they’ve committed to but it’s a big statement for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. it’s a good day for MMA and at the same time a good day for Bellator.”

Read entire article...
Listen to entire interview...


tags: Bellator   Bjorn Rebney   


Get the MMA Underground app. for iPhone and Andriod devices.
iPhone Application Andriod MMA Underground Application

Recent Comments »

Cutthr0at site profile image  

10/28/11 6:19 PM by Cutthr0at

I guess he meant that, currently, there are only 2 entities in the sport that matter.Which is true unless you want to nit pick.

kwjude site profile image  

10/28/11 5:32 PM by kwjude

Funny How he says there is only 2 companies in the mma space. Must have forgot about ProElite. Heading into their 2nd show and have already inked a deal with HDNet to televise. Owned by Stratus media group and run by TJay Thompson and Rich Chou and 20% owned by CBS. I would look at them to be a force as well within the next 6 months to year.

CRE site profile image  

10/28/11 4:36 PM by CRE

I hate to say it, but this new cocky Bjorn Rebney will be a Zuffa victim. ENJOY THE FISHES. 

DamnSevern site profile image  

10/28/11 4:28 PM by DamnSevern

 bjorn to be wild

MMALOGIC site profile image  

10/28/11 4:27 PM by MMALOGIC

 objective?  you control and decide that matchmaking every step of the way except for the final.  That's pretty much the same thing that zuffa does. Unless you use brackets it's not objective at all and even still you control the seeding. Bellator is nothing like other sports.  In the NBA, NFL, MLB, etc... you play a host of other teams first to determine seeding and then the bracket takes it from there.  When travis wiuff can beat your champ it means your tournaments and titles arent worth shit.

CRE site profile image  

10/28/11 4:21 PM by CRE

This guy is getting cocky.Dana you know what to do.CRUSH HIM

Kingtony87 site profile image  

10/28/11 3:37 PM by Kingtony87

Non title super fights are a crock nothing real sport like about that. This is prize fighting no fighter ranking system will ever work as it's all subjective.

stlnl2 site profile image  

10/28/11 2:59 PM by stlnl2

LOL sure he would.........

10 Marlons TOO little site profile image  

10/28/11 2:52 PM by 10 Marlons TOO little

Who was that?