Bellator CEO Rebney featured on WSJ.com

March 2, 2011

Last week Bellator CEO, Bjorn Rebney was featured in an interview on WSJ.com about building the Bellator brand. He talked about the substantial growth of MMA and the past and future of Bellator.

Via WSJ.com

Bellator will make its debut on MTV2 this Saturday night, March 5th at 9PM ET.

Via Bellator press release:

Bellator Fighting Championships’ highly anticipated fourth season will premiere this Saturday, March 5, live on MTV2 beginning at 9pm ET/PT from the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, Calif. Bellator 35 will feature the quarterfinal pairings in the Season 4 Welterweight Tournament, including: Rick Hawn vs. Jim Wallhead, Jay Hieron vs. Anthony Lapsley, Chris Lozano vs. Lyman Good and Brent Weedman vs. Dan Hornbuckle. A Spanish-language telecast will air on MTV Tr3s on Sunday, March 6, at 8pm ET/PT. MTV2’s live event telecasts will feature returning duo Sean Wheelock as the play-by-play announcer and Jimmy Smith as the analyst and the Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más telecast will include George X and Manny Rodriguez as the on-air announce team.

“We’re thrilled to have both our English and Spanish language broadcast teams back in place for the coming years,” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “With their wealth of experience, knowledge of the game and excitement for MMA – I truly believe that we have the best broadcast team in the sport”

Sean Wheelock has called Bellator fights since Season 2 and is familiar to MMA fans around the globe thanks to his experience as the play-by-play announcer for PRIDE, Affliction and M-1 Global events. Wheelock has also been a columnist for the websites of Fox Sports, the BBC and Major League Soccer, along with being the co-founder and a principal of Eudora Productions, LLC, which focuses on soccer and MMA remote productions and live broadcasts.

Also returning for his third Bellator season is Jimmy Smith, the color commentator. Smith is a professional MMA fighter with a record of 5-1 (4 Submissions) and notable victories over UFC veteran James Wilks and Jason Chambers. As a broadcaster, he has teamed with Wheelock to provide color commentary for M1-Global and was the host of the Discovery Channel’s very popular “Fight Quest.”

Payout Perspective:

Good PR for Bellator in leading up to its debut on MTV2. Rebney does a good job in addressing the difference between Bellator and UFC by selling the fact that it is tournament-based and that the fighters take the decision-making out of the hands of matchmakers. Perhaps this makes a difference to fans that are sick of the matchmaking in the UFC. It was interesting to note that he states Bellator is at a break even point and he expects a profit within 9 months. Not sure if this was to be taken as a subtle jab, but he also says that he was glad to be aligned “with the group that owns and controls Spike (TV)”.

5 Responses to “Bellator CEO Rebney featured on WSJ.com”

  1. Adam Swift on March 2nd, 2011 10:37 AM

    Lots of people in the industry suspect that this is Viacom’s insurance policy in case the UFC looks for greener pastures.

  2. Machiel Van on March 2nd, 2011 1:13 PM

    Also sounds like it could be Bellator’s meal ticket if the UFC leaves Spike TV/Viacom.

  3. Matt C. on March 2nd, 2011 1:46 PM

    When Bellator starts releasing their seedings for their brackets at the beginning of every tournament I will start believing their talk about there is no match making going on. Without releasing the seedings it gives room to match make through the whole tournament besides the final which would be a given because there is only two fighters left.

    Bellator does the seeding for the opening round. That means they can manipulate the seedings to get the match-ups they want. Then without those seedings being public knowledge they can essentially match-up the second round however they want as well. Do the fighters still control their own fate to some degree? Yes by winning but Bellator still has the power to make certain match-ups through out the opening rounds that will favor certain fighters.

  4. Caidel on March 3rd, 2011 1:46 AM

    Matt C: Rebney in the past addressed that issue. It is true, that they do all the matchmaking in every round of the tournament, so it is not really true that fighters completely control their destinies, but it kinda makes sense.

    Official reason was, that they need to have matchmaking rights even in later rounds of the tournament because of scheduling fights and injuries. You know: fighters go through first round and some of them can be banged up a little bit and some can take another fight immediately, buth others need week or two to recuperate. So they need to have control over this to make their killer schedule.

    It consider it a minor miracle, that they had no issues with major injury of the winners so far…

  5. Jose Mendoza on March 3rd, 2011 2:13 AM

    One thing that I have always applauded Born Rebney for is his ability to sell, and that he can do very well, as seen in this video.

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