After going several years without engaging in many verbal exchanges, it seems like Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney and UFC boss man Dana White have started sharing ‘observations’ about their competitor a little bit more often these days. It just might have something to do with the fact that Bellator is no longer a fledgling promotion, but rather, a Viacom property broadcast nationally on SPIKE.
While Bellator built itself up through television deals and a tournament format, recently it announced it is entering the PPV market, and will do so with a headliner between Tito Ortiz and “Rampage” Jackson. Not only did the news surprise a lot of folks, but it also furthered speculation as to whether Bellator might be moving into more of a UFC based model instead of tournaments. While speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Rebney quickly dismissed the notion, and did so by firing this shot at the world’s biggest promotion (quote via MMA Mania.com).
“Our point of difference is that we’re real sports competition, and when it boils down to world title fights, when it boils down to crowning our champion at 170, or 55 or 45 or whatever weight class, guys are going to earn the right to fight for that championship and they’re going to have to beat the champion. It’s the toughest tournament in sports, it’s real sports competition.We’re not sitting around waiting for some wrestler to lose two fights straight and then bark his way into a 205 world title fight. That’s just not the essence of what we do.”
Whoa. Looks like Rebney’s taken a few pointers from White here no? What with the outspoken, ‘here”s your headline’ kind of talk. Now, reading between the lines (and Rebney created plenty of space), it’s pretty obvious he’s talking about Chael Sonnen. Although technically Bjorn, “The American Gangsta” was coming off just one loss, versus Anderson Silva at UFC 148, before he “barked” his way into a bout with Jon Jones.
At any rate, it’s good to hear that Bellator intends to keep the tournament format, as it does differentiate the promotion from the UFC as well as most others.
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