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Bellator CEO Responds to White’s Criticism

Bjorn RebneyFollowing UFC 152, UFC President Dana White had some harsh words for fellow promotion Bellator this past Saturday in regards to their handling of Roger Hollet and Tyson Nam. White spoke out against Bellator for their use of the “right to match” part of fighter contracts with former fighters. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney responded on Monday’s episode of the “MMA Hour” to defend the practice and his promotion.

White stated:

‘I don’t talk much about Bellator, but what they do is the dirtiest thing you can do in the business. … I have the right to match too, but once I cut a guy and let him go, I don’t call him and say, “you’re breaking the contract” and try to sue them.’

Rebney’s response:

It’s a very, very hypocritical statement. We had to go through the exact same process with Zuffa when we signed ‘King Mo.’ Zuffa released ‘King Mo’ Lawal on March 27, 2012. They went public with their release, they put it up on their own website, on, Dana confirmed the release of ‘King Mo’ to the media on the exact same day, and then in April, when Bellator looked to sign ‘King Mo,’ we had to submit our full contract to Zuffa. We sent it certified mail to their attorneys. Then we had to wait 14 full business days, which is typically 20-to-21 days in total, for them to decide if they were going to match or not going to match — which thankfully they didn’t, and we ended up with one of the most exciting and entertaining light heavyweights in the world — but, this is, to the letter, the exact same process. So it’s one thing to call somebody out on doing something. But when you follow the exact same process, the veracity of the comments have to be taken in context with what the real world dictates.”

Rebney also received further support from Lawal’s manager, Mike Kogan, who tweeted on Monday:

“We went through the first right of refusal s— with @kingmofh (Lawal) when he was cut and almost cost us the deal. So its bull to.isolate @bellatormma and @BjornRebney for a practice that seems to be the way the industry is” [sic]

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