In some rather shocking news Bellator’s Founder, Chairman & CEO, Bjorn Rebney, is no longer with the promotion. The news was announced by the Viacom-owned company today via press release. Along with Rebney, Tim Danaher, President & COO of Bellator, is also leaving.
No exact reason is given for Rebney’s departure except he hinted at he and Viacom having a different vision for Bellator.
“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.”
Kevin Kay of Spike TV commented:
“I would like to thank Bjorn and Tim on behalf of Spike and Viacom for their dedication and hard work building Bellator from the ground up. They worked tirelessly in getting Bellator to where it is today. They were great partners to work with and we wish them all the best.”
Originally Rebney wanted to find their own talent and build fighters into stars, the way they did with Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler. Title shots were to be earned, not given, and the promotion was to be centered around the tournament structure. Since the Viacom buy-out we’ve seen Bellator get away from this a bit and they are bringing in ex-UFC superstars like Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz. They are still doing tournaments, but we can’t really call their champions “superstars” at this juncture. If they’re truly going to compete with the UFC, there’s going to need to be a focused vision and possibly these differences have brought about Rebney and Danaher leaving the organization. This is only speculation.
There’s also been a rumor that former Strikeforce frontman Scott Coker could fill Rebney’s spot. And if anyone could give the UFC and Dana White a run for their money, it would be Coker. Let’s keep our fingers crossed on that one… Yes, I still miss Strikeforce and the way that company was run.