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Volume 24 No. 160

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The NFL in a letter to the NFLPA Wednesday stated that the league would “neither facilitate the union's investigation into the bounty scandal involving the New Orleans Saints, nor delay discipline against players, coaches and management allegedly involved in the pay-for-performance program that took place the past three seasons,” according to Jim Trotter of NFLPA officials contend that they “didn't learn of the investigation until shortly before the results were announced to the public, at which point they formally asked that the league help arrange interviews with current and former team officials and coaches, and delay any discipline until it could conduct its own investigation.” NFL Exec VP/Labor & General Counsel Jeff Pash in the letter said that “team officials and coaches, current and former, were free to speak with union investigators, but that the league ‘will neither compel them to do so, nor direct them to refrain from doing so.’" One union source said that the league's “unwillingness to compel its employees to make themselves available was, for all practical purposes, a roadblock in the union's investigation” (, 3/16). The NFL “apparently won't wait for the NFLPA to investigate before handing out its punishments against the Saints -- which could come at any time in the coming days or weeks” (, 3/15).

Bellator Fighting Championships is holding an event Friday night in Bossier City, La., and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney noted the promotion is "far ahead of where we were a year ago." He said, "You could really classify it as night and day. The progress that has happened in terms of the relationship and the acquisition by Viacom has been enormous." He added the ability to leverage the "expertise on a day-to-day basis that exists underneath that Spike banner with people who really wrote the book in terms of televised mixed martial arts." The promotion's deal with Viacom has its product currently airing on MTV2, but will move to Spike in nine months. Rebney said, "Spike Network has created more mixed martial arts stars over the last number of years than the combination of any other network in the world." Meanwhile, Rebney said of the company's growth since forming in '08, "We’ve got a lot of full-time employees in our Chicago office that handle everything from PR to marketing to talent relations, operations, travel and legal, etc. ... There are about 85 people on the road every week making this show happen" ("Gross Point Blank MMA Podcast,”, 3/12). In Louisiana, Roy Lang III notes Rebney "fully admits his dream wouldn't have been possible without" UFC. Rebney and Bellator have stayed out of UFC President Dana White's "line of fire over the years; and that's not easy." White has "often gone on offense against ill-fated so-called competitors, but for the most part is quiet when it comes to Bellator." Rebney's approach "includes not making idle threats to the UFC like other ill-fated organizations" (SHREVEPORT TIMES, 3/16).