Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney Talks Growth Of MMA, And Move To Spike
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,” ESPN.com, 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).