Bjorn Rebney: I didn't get into this to be #2

by Perry Lefko | source: conducted an exclusive interview with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney recently that touched on a wide variety of subjects, including how he would fight UFC President Dana White if the two met in the cage.

“I don’t know. That’s a great question,” said Rebney. “My understanding is he’s got a great standup game. My standup game isn’t that great. I’d probably go right back into a pre-production meeting and try to compete where the competition is ripe, which is putting on live events and putting on great TV shows.”

“I think he’s a very charismatic figure who has driven a lot of consumer connectivity to the game. He has a very big personality, which draws a lot of attention to mixed martial arts, which is not a bad thing, and I respect the fact that when he first started doing it and the UFC first started launching in terms of a general market crossover, nobody was listening.

“From what I’ve seen and I’ve never spent any time around him, he looks amazingly driven, hugely focused and he looks to be an amazing fan of the game.”

“There’s no way to survive and be successful in this type of business if you’re anything less than on. We have no off-season. It never stops. You’re constantly marketing and promoting and publicizing, selling and talking. If you’re not pleasantly relentless, not aggressive in pursuit of making it bigger and better and more exciting, need five days off to do this or that, this isn’t the place for you.

"I sleep 4½ hours a night and I’m fine with it. I only sleep that amount of time because there’s a huge amount of stuff I need to get done. I don’t take days off.”

“I’m a fan and I watch some of the UFC shows because there’s great fighters I want to see fight, and then part of it is to track what the competition is doing in terms of their numbers and how people are responding and what they’re doing live-wise and internationally, where their distribution is."

“I used to watch Royce Gracie fight in the UFC. I was one of those freaks who watched Pride events when they were still huge and drawing huge numbers to the Tokyo Dome. It was what I did for fun. I would go to shows in Southern California and I would get together with buddies and drink cheap beer and get pizza and watch the UFC shows, but nobody knew what it was.

“I’d get 100 buddies together to watch football and I’d talk about MMA and there was no true connectivity to the market. Everybody else saw the Ultimate Fighter when it launched on Spike and said, ‘That was kind of cool.’ I was checking the (overnight ratings). The numbers came in and they were huge. I was the only person who wasn’t surprised.”

“I’ve got a lot of respect for what the UFC has done. They’ve accomplished some great things. My anticipation of where we go is pretty large. When I was envisioning this, I never did get into it thinking, ‘I hope we’re number two.’ I don’t think anybody that’s hugely driven gets into any business and says, ‘I just hope we can be number two.’

“Your vision is that you’re going to put all these pieces together and over a period of time you’re going to be competitive with the best that there is, regardless of what you’re doing, and my vision is no different than that.”

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tags: Bellator   Bjorn Rebney   UFC   Dana White   

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liquidrob site profile image  

4/12/12 1:59 PM by liquidrob


MMALOGIC site profile image  

4/10/12 4:46 PM by MMALOGIC

 IBM didnt have govt regulation protecting their monopoly...  Imagine if Blockbuster had regulations in place that said movies can only be rented a certain way... ie: you have to be there in person... there would be no netflix and we'd still have to drive 10 minutes to rent a darn movie. UFC has put in place an artificial barrier called regulations that makes it virtually impossible for anyone to compete... how on earth can you compete with a brand leader who has that much of a headstart when you are forced to essentially create the exact same product?  you cant... You have to use the same rules, judging system, point criteria, and minutes...  who knows one/15 minute round is a superior product... or knees on the ground and elbows are the superior product... we wont know because it has been "monopolized"...  zuffa is now calling on a "world body" to regulate (monopolize) mma globally. Someone should tell the liberal democrats how govt regulations really work... I applaud bellator for at least trying something different with the tournament format but it didnt work... more importantly if they do anything that does work all Zuffa has to do is copy it because bellator will have to do it under the unified rules making it easy to copy for Zuffa. The only other way a real competitor emerges is if the market leader cant supply the demand... as soon as Demand increases ZUffa quickly supplies the demand by increasing its content... there is no room for a real #2. when SF goes away those 8 events will become UFC events. Then we have an arithmatic problem... bellator cant pay for the best fighters because they cant compete revenue wise. The result?  managers and camps arent allowing their 1st string to sign with bellator because they know they will be stuck their... they are sending their second string... bellator has been forced to go all over the place to find unknown camps who arent sophisticated yet. SF had to sign crazy open contracts and pay way above market price to get any decent talent...  the fighters had coker on his knees. Zuffa has 90% of the top talent... virtually impossible for any fighter outside of Zuffa to make it into the top 5 rankings... and ectremely difficult to even make it into the top 10. Bellator has no more a shot of taking over the UFC than TNA has a shot at taking over the WWE.  or even legitimately competing.  Id argue TNA has a better shot because at least they are not bound by regulations  on what they can and cannot do. Months ago I said the only emerging threat is One FC and it looks like Zuffa may be purchasing a controlling interest in it.  WIth the UFC india deal the only other real threat that remains is CHina.

Outlaw'd by Lytle site profile image  

4/10/12 3:36 PM by Outlaw'd by Lytle


Chris27 site profile image  

4/10/12 2:53 PM by Chris27

LOL, SF was positioned to do what?They werent making money, they had no depth in most divs, how were they positioned very well?I swear people are so eager for orgs to overtake the UFC I think they only see what they want to see, not the whole picture.And Bellator is always gonna have one problem, no matter how many prospects they sign when those guys climb the ranks they dont have any big fights for them or fights that can make them stars.Its what Eddie said, he is stuck in Bellator fighting prospects, guys not ranked but who are good prospects, guys most fans feel he should be easily, if he knocks them out easily he should, if he goes 5 rounds with Curran at LW, Curran is a mid level LW, top FW but not a top LW, he wins that fight but his stock went down.Then he fights a prospect and loses and now his stock is really down. So he isnt in the big money fights against the top guys in the world, he really has no place to go but down in Bellator.They will have that with most of their top fighters, when they become champs they are gonna have to fight prospects coming up, that doesnt help them in the rankings, that doesnt make them stars or big draws.You become a big star or draw by beating top guys and doing it impressively. Or beating a big name draw or legend that can jump start your career.Bellator doesnt have that, they dont have those established stars to build prospects off of and they dont have many top of the div fighters for their champs to compete against.FW has a few guys but other than FW what top guys do they have?0 HW0 LHW1 MW Lombard who could leave2 LW Eddie and Chandler0 WW, I dont think Askren is there yet2/3 FW with Curran, Sandro and Pitbull2 BW, Ueda who lost and will be dropped from the top 10 and Fun Size/Dudu I think winner will be top 10.But where are all the top ranked challengers? the big names? There problem is the UFC is already established with the top fighters and the top brand, doesnt matter how good a prospect is people are always gonna say he isnt in the UFC and how woudl he do vs UFC fighters.Lombard and Eddie want out, soon Askren is gonna be in the same position with no legit threats to him and no way to move up in the mma world.Chandler will feel that at some point as will Curran and Fun Size/Dudu. You can only go so far in Bellator before you reach the ceiling.

Haulport site profile image  

4/10/12 2:28 PM by Haulport

If they keep their champs out of tourneys though fighting non-title filler fights they are going to fuck themselves though...............  

Haulport site profile image  

4/10/12 2:27 PM by Haulport

I completely disagree. There are PLENTY of cases where the 2nd product overtakes the original. If someone in Bellator get's hot and draws attention to their very solid product then they could become MUCH much bigger overnight. This is how products work. Just ask IBM. One bad decision and a smart competitor........... I felt that Strikeforce was positioned very well for this but then made a few very bad mistakes and fucked it up. The handling of the HW tourney (should have OPENED with Fedor/Overeem among other things), the use of Mauro/Gus/Frank/Pat, etc. A lot of other fuck ups too. Real bad ones imo.

12SixElbow site profile image  

4/10/12 2:19 PM by 12SixElbow

 Right. Bellator is selling out venues, and they're on tv. They aren't paying fighters crazy amounts (sorry tim, no millions here) But fair amounts. I think that a lot of guys are going to be made stars there, and perhaps stay there. Being a Bellator fighter has a LOT of benefits.

Chris27 site profile image  

4/10/12 1:46 PM by Chris27

But Viacom is sitting on billions.Its funny when people say that, like they are just gonna throw endless money at Bellator and not make anything back? Like they will just lose money.Fact is they werent paying 100 mill to the UFC, they can own Bellator, do half the ratings and it will cost them 1/4 of what they would have paid the UFC.Its cheaper for them.

MMALOGIC site profile image  

4/10/12 1:40 PM by MMALOGIC

 Improbable... Spike budgeted 35 mil a year for the #1 brand (UFC).... Showtime invested roughly 13 mil a year for SF...  This gives you an idea of what Viacom is gonna earmark for bellator... worse, a network owning a sports property rarely works out. Zuffa makes more with the Brazilian market than Bellator will make in it's primary market.  It's an uphill battle.  If you cant compete revenue wise you cant compete. A "bellator" will pop up in every major market to fill the secondary mma demand (cage warriors or whatever in the UK, something in Brazil, Super fight league in India, etc...).  Not a single one will be able to compete with ZUffa. UFC essentially has a global distribution monopoly, a talent monopoly and a brand monopoly. The only possible threat left to the UFC is China.

Chris27 site profile image  

4/10/12 12:50 PM by Chris27

Do they own 100 percent? I thought they only bought a controlling interest in the company, like 60 percent or something.