It’s been a WILD day in the MMA world today and we figured we’d post some of the bigger news here on the website for those of you who follow MMA, Bellator, World Series of Fighting, and more. Check out some of today’s bigger stories:
SPIKETV CONFIRMS BJORN REBNEY’S FIRING:
MMAScoops.com reports that Spike TV today announced Bjorn Rebney, Bellator’s founder, chairman and CEO, as well as company president and COO Tim Danaher, have the left company, effective immediately. No reason was given, but as previously reported, Viacom was looking to replace Rebney with former Strikeforce CEO and founder Scott Coker. Rebney had the following to say about his departure…
“It is with bittersweet emotions that I announce that I am leaving the company I founded. I have great pride in having turned my vision into reality, a thriving business with television distribution to over 140 countries around the world, a partnership with one of the world’s largest entertainment giants and wide array of sponsors, partners and strategic allies all over the globe.
This has been a wonderful eight plus years of creation, development and success. I will miss the courageous, strong and dedicated fighters I have had the pleasure of promoting, and equally, I will miss the incredibly hard working, remarkable team that has become a family for me over the years. Viacom and Tim and I differed in our views of the right strategic direction for Bellator, but Tim and I both wish them well.
I feel very privileged and honored to have been one of the guiding forces for developing Bellator into the largest MMA tournament based organization in the world,” Danaher stated. “I’ve made tremendous life-long friends and feel blessed to have worked with such talented and dedicated people.”
BELLATOR ANNOUNCES SCOTT COKER AS NEW PRESIDENT:
As previously reported, Spike TV announced that Bjorn Rebney, Bellator’s founder, chairman and CEO, as well as company president and COO Tim Danaher, have the left company, effective immediately. The company has just announced, via press release, that Scott Coker has been named President, Bellator MMA, effective immediately. Coker was Founder and former CEO of Strikeforce, which began in 1985 as a kickboxing league and developed into an MMA promotion in 2006. Spike TV President Kevin kay had the following to say about the announcement…
“We are excited to have Scott Coker lead us in a new direction as we evolve the league format from a tournament-based organization to a more traditional model with big fights.”
EDDIE ALVAREZ REACTS TO BJORN REBNEY’S FIRING:
Glenn Robinson, representative of Bellator MMA lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, recently talked about Bellator MMA’s move to replace Bjorn Rebney with Scott Coker. The move took place earlier today. Below are some highlights on how this could affect Alvarez’s potential future with the company.
In the past, Alvarez butted heads with Alvarez and the promotion when Alvarez became a free agent and was offered a deal to sign with the UFC. Alvarez and Bellator MMA went to court over Bellator’s matching offer to Alvarez. Eventually the two sides came to a deal after the legal wrangling forced Alvarez to remain on the shelf from fighting for over a year.
Robinson on Coker’s hiring and how Alvarez wanted to leave Bellator: “Before (Coker’s hiring), Eddie definitely wanted to leave. I don’t think that was a secret. After this, we’d have to sit down with him first.”
Robinson on what happened before Rebney left: “What I can tell you is they told us they wanted him to still fight (Michael) Chandler, and they told us it would be sometime in October. Eddie wanted to fight Will Brooks – they said no. Then everything went radio silent, and then the shakeup.”
Robinson on Alvarez being “happy” about the change in management: “Eddie is happy about the shakeup. He wasn’t happy with the way things were being run. I don’t think that’s any secret, so Eddie was very happy to hear there’s been a change in management. Eddie respects Viacom very much, and he’s always told me that.”
Robinson on Bellator’s title shot system: “They had this entire system based on (the idea) that you earn your title shots. And then they made two changes, which we call the ‘Alvarez change 1′ and the ‘Alvarez change 2.’ When they were trying to get Eddie the first time, they changed their rules to allow (title) rematches. And then when they have no reason for him to be fighting Michael Chandler now, they changed their rules to say they’re allowed to give any past tournament champion a rematch at any time. I don’t totally understand how that makes sense with the premise of Bellator, where titles are earned, not given. We weren’t very happy about that change.”
Robinson on what could be next for Alvarez with regards to Bellator: “Everything we requested (from the former management team) down to the littlest thing was always a debate. So we think this is the best for Bellator, and as far as whether he would stay with Bellator long-term or not, until we sit down with Scott, it’s really hard to say.”
WSOF MATCHMAKE REACTS TO BJORN REBNEY’S FIRING:
MMAjunkie Radio interviewed World Series of Fighting matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz, and he lauded Bellator MMA’s ousting of former CEO and founder Bjorn Rebney earlier today. Abdelaziz also put the offer out there to other MMA promotions to co-promote a PPV event. Below are some highlights.
Abdelaziz on his offer to other promotions to co-promote events: “If you’re a top promotion out there – I’m not talking about AXS TV promotions. If you’re on network or on cable television, and you want to do a challenge, World Series of Fighting will open the door, pay-per-view, split money, split gates – we all make money. Boxing does it. NFL East, NFL West does it. We can do it. We can have a clean competition.”
Abdelaziz on Bjorn Rebney being ousted from Bellator: “Today is victory for all of MMA – for me, for you, for all the fighters. Today should be (named) MMA Independence Day. Freedom from slavery, freedom from abuse, freedom from shadiness – this guy left. I don’t want to say his name – just MMA fans should be happy, and I’m very sure a lot of people are.”
Abdelaziz on giving credit to Rebney for creating the promotion: “I want to say something to be a decent human being. You’ve got to give credit where credit is due, and this individual created a promotion. He gave fighters an opportunity to fight. They didn’t get treated well, but you have to give the guy credit for starting a promotion like that and having (121) shows. That’s not easy to do; it’s hard. But it’s even harder the way you do it and the way you treat others, and this is my issue. But I do respect that this guy put on that many shows, and now, a new guy can come on the block. We don’t know if the damage can be fixed, but I like Scott Coker. I think he’s a great guy, and I wish him the best of luck.”
Abdelaziz on why it is too risky for Bellator to co-promote with WSOF: “If I was Bellator, it’s too risky. They’ve been around for 127 shows, (and if) you have a company that’s young and hungry as the WSOF coming on board and beating your guys up, it’s not a smart business decision. But I’m open to it. I love challenges, respectfully. Right now, because my man Scott Coker is on board, I will respectfully do that.”
BELLATOR REACHES OUT TO KIMBO SLICE:
MMAScoops.com reports that Bellator MMA is interested in signing Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, who has previously fought for EliteXC and UFC. Bellator recently offered Kimbo a shot but he wasn’t interested in the terms of the deal.
Slice’s manager “Icey” Mike Imber said: “They had reached out to us, however, it was very informal and nothing has been decided. You know Kimbo is down to fight whenever. There’s actually a few options out there, so whatever makes most sense I think he’s gonna with.”
He would reveal the other offers to Slice, who turned 40 in February. He hasn’t had a fight in MMA since he lost to Matt Mitrione at UFC 113 in May 2010, but he is currently 7-0 as a boxer. His last boxing match happened in January 2013. He is 4-2 as an MMA fighter and got popular for his street fights on Youtube. He fought in 2007 and 2008 for EliteXC. His fight with James Thompson on CBS in May 2008 was the second most-watched MMA event on US network TV.
While it was former CEO and founder Bjorn Rebney’s idea to bring in Slice, his replacement Scott Coker is also said to be interested.
BRANDON VERA FIRED FROM UFC:
MMAScoops.com reports that Brandon Vera (12-7-1nc MMA, 8-7-1nc UFC) is done with the UFC. Vera, age 36, was quietly released by the promotion according to sources at Fox Sports. Since 2009, Vera was 3-4-1nc in the UFC and was coming off back-to-back losses to Shogun Rua and Ben Rothwell.
ANTONIO RODRIGO NOGUEIRA UNDERGOES SURGERY:
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira tore his right ACL days before his UFC Fight Night 39 main event against Roy Nelson, a fight he lost via RD1 KO. Nogueira underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon in Rio de Janeiro, and is expected to be able to return in six months. Dr. Marcio Tannure had the following to say about the surgery…
“Rodrigo has an ACL injury, which is a ligament that stabilizes the right knee. He did a reconstruction of this ligament. The procedure was a success, everything went as expected, and we expect him to fight again in approximately six months.”
TATE VS. NAKAI LIKELY:
UFC Tonight reported this week that a women’s bantamweight match-up is in the works for UFC Fight Night 52 between former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate and undefeated Rin Nakai. The fight would be Nakai’s Octagon debut.
The UFC has not yet officially announced the fight. UFC Fight Night 52 is set for September 20 at the Saitama Arena in Saitama, Japan.
BELLATOR PAY-PER-VIEW NUMBERS ACCURATE:
MMAScoops.com reports that Spike TV President Kevin Kay earlier today reinforced the earlier reports that Bellator MMA’s debut PPV event, Bellator 120, had over 100,000 buys on PPV.
According to Kay, the 100,000 PPV buyrate number is “dead-on accurate.” He continued, “I’m hesitant to answer, because … we haven’t done pay-per-views. I’ll stand by that 100,000, though.”
Previously, UFC President Dana White expressed during a media scrum with reporters that he did not believe the 100,000 PPV buyrate number for Bellator. He stated: “Yeah it shocks me, because no it didn’t [do 100,000 buys]. Did [Rebney] ever find out what the gate was? No one ever got back to him on the gate? He didn’t know what the gate was. If he didn’t know what his gate was, but he did 100,000 pay-per-view buys … the guy is a f—ing clown. Could you imagine a night where you guys ask me, ‘Hey, what was your gate tonight?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ I won’t. You don’t want to give out your gate, and yeah, you don’t want to give out a real pay-per-view number, either. It’s like, that’s why you’re asking me if I give a s–t what they’re doing like we’re trying to go the same night to destroy them. I’m doing two events on the same time on opposite ends of the world. Like I really give a s–t where they are or what they’re doing. I knew the real number before they knew the real number. That’s their business. It’s like their gate. That’s his business.”
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