14 for 14: No. 6 Rebney replaced by Coker

December 29, 2014

Bjorn Rebney was relieved of his duties as the head of Bellator in June of this year. He was replaced by former Strikeforce head Scott Coker.

In addition, Bellator president and COO Tim Danaher was let go by Viacom.  According to MMA Fighting, the replacement of Rebney was dependent on waiting out Coker’s Zuffa’s non-compete clause.

Rebney indicated that he had differed “on views of the right strategic direction.”

A week or so before the change Rebney announced a change to its title fights which allowed for former tournament winners to challenge for a title.  They would no longer have to enter a tournament again to regain a chance for a title fight.

Looking back, one might infer a difference of opinion with the Bellator tournament structure.  In fact, this was one of the changes made by Coker upon him taking power.

Coker produced the biggest event in Bellator history in November with Bellator 131 with the main event of Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar.  The change in promotion philosophy looks to have the company turning the corner as it competes with the UFC in the MMA landscape.

Payout Perspective:

The move from Rebney to Coker looks to have worked out in the short term.  He’s focused on the “less is more” strategy with the goal of producing 16 shows next year while focusing on quarterly “big events” which would include title fights along with headline names.  Per MMA Fighting, Coker plans on concentrating on promoting the company’s monthly shows on Spike TV along with focusing on a three month marketing campaign for its “big events” which will air on Saturday nights.  With word that it will actively try to sign more free agents including Brock Lesnar after his WWE contract expires, one might assume that Viacom is willing to expand its budget for Bellator.

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