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Bellator 110: Bjorn Rebney Post-Fight Scrum Quotes

Bellator 110:  Bjorn Rebney Post-Fight Scrum Quotes

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney held a scrum with reporters after Bellator 110.  Rebney fielded questions on a number of issues, including the recent negotiations with Gilbert Melendez, as well as information about the location of the upcoming Alvarez vs Chandler pay-per-view fight.  Here are some quotes from Rebney:

His thoughts on the UFC matching their deal with Melendez:

“They should be a very large scale beneficiary of that process when it goes to premium tv, and when it goes to a pay per-watch scenario.  I hope the bar does get set.  And you know, we’re going to win some of them, and we’re going to get some of those guys, and we’re going to lose some of them, and they’re going to match on some.  We’re going to come to the end of a contract with a guy, and we’re going to match on some, and then other’s we’re just going to let go and go ‘Hey, that’s a great offer.  You should really take that.’ So I think if it helps the sport in terms of giving fighters like Gil, who are amongst some of the best in the world, a bigger stake in the game, which they deserve, I think it’s a good thing.  What’s good for the fighters is good for this game.”

On the Rampage/Mo fight being on the PPV:

“It’s sure in the back of my mind.  It’s been a fight that as an mma fan, I’ve wanted to see for a long time.  They had a long period where they talked an amazing amount of crap between themselves, and then they went on a little bit of a hiatus, and then it just reignited.  Which I knew is what would happen, because they really don’t like each other at all.  We’ll see where it goes.  I always like to kind of take a breath and see how things unfold.”

On the Lawal vs Zayats fight:

“Zayats is actually really talented.  He didn’t get the credit he deserved because he didn’t look good tonight.  Just stylistically that was just one of those weird- two magnets in the wrong direction type of thing, where they just did not engage.  Zayats is the real deal.  I was concerned about that fight. I really thought it was a pick ‘em fight.”

On Alvarez’s contract situation:

“The Eddie thing has more twists and turns in it than any kind of novel you could read, so we’ve got a lot of potential directions with Ed.  It’s got piece after piece in the deal, and there’s a lot of different scenarios.  Ed could be with us for a short period of time, he could be with us for a huge, long period of time.  There’s a lot of optionality that we have.”

On having an event outside of the U.S.:

“Our new partners, Fox down in Latin America, have us planned in 2015 to go to Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.  And, in 2014, probably just Canada.  We’ve got a couple of potential deals could to fruition in Europe, but 2014 probably just Canada and 2015 Latin America.”

On potential locations for the Alvarez vs Chandler fight:

“They’re all here in the continental United States.  No Canada, can’t go to Canada.”

On the new gloves:

“[Fighter reaction has been] hugely positive.  A lot of hand breaks occur in mma.  When you look at a guy like Doug Lima, every time he lands a big right hand, he breaks his hand.  It was getting to the point with Doug where you’re looking at him saying to yourself ‘this guy’s a wicked talent, but at some point the hand is going to be so damaged, it’s just not going to be able to punch people anymore.  So I went to Dean (Lasseter), and Dean said ‘look, there are changes we could make to the glove, vis-à-vis a locking system if we really put our heads together and work with experts and work with doctors, where you can secure these knuckles and you could secure the thumb in such a way that tries to prevent those breaks.  Vis-à-vis real medical technology, instead of having the loose movement that can give rise to those breaks when somebody lands a big right hand or a big left hand.  You could actually protect those hands, but it would take time.  So we went to Everlast and we said ‘Hey, we want to try to do this’, and the we went through mock-up after mock-up.  We kept giving them to fighters until we finally got one that not only protected the hand but also gave them the flexibility in grappling, to be able to move, to get out of it, so it wasn’t completely locked, etc.  They came up with an incredible glove.  My hope is that I don’t want it to be proprietary to us, because I think it can help guys.”

On Ryan Quinn fighting in a future lightweight tournament:

“Potentially.  [Quinn is] a guy who is legitimately starting to show the ability to potentially compete at that level.”

On post-fight bonuses:

“I’m a big fan of what we’ve got going on in terms of the structure right now.  You climb with every fight in the tournament.  The climb from the first fight in the tournament to the second is a double, and then another double, and you can walk away with $100,000 in three months.  I haven’t given it a lot of thought.  I’ve always felt that the subjective nature of some of that is a little bit odd, and a little bit disconnected.  As if I get to sit back on a thrown and make a decision as to who I think did the best thing or a certain thing.  I kind of like the objectivity.  I’m not trying to cop-out to not doing it, but I’ve always sort of looked at it and it felt like somebody kind of walks around with a pile of money and ‘hey, I’m the king of the world, let me bestow upon you some of my love.’  I’d rather just put more money into purses and say ‘hey, this is for you to win, and go out there and get the W.’”

He subsequently addressed it further:

“I never said I wouldn’t do it.  I don’t typically waffle on stuff, and say hey this type of person will never fight in our cage and then completely change directions and say ‘hey, this person is now the biggest star we’ve ever had.  I don’t think it fits into our formula right now.  The essence of what we do is that you have to win fights.  If you win fights here, you make a great deal of money and have a great deal of success.  So I’m not sure that I’m in favor of incentivizing someone to fight in a way that they might not typically fight to get a W, but I’m not completely against it, and it’s not something that’s completely off the table in terms of consideration.”


On the decision in Nunes vs Bessette:

“I always like to go back and have a chance to watch it on tape.  I thought Matt’s fight against Diego was very tight, and I don’t know how much the local crowd helped.  But man, they were going nuts for him, so I’ll have to watch it again.  It was a very close fight.”

On potential licensing issues on Nevada for Doug Marshall:

“No, because Doug took all the necessary steps to get it completely cleared up and get off suspension.  My assumption is, Doug is a pretty smart guy.  Hopefully he stays away from what caused the suspension in the first place, and is able to fight.  He’s got a great opportunity ahead of him.  He’s got a four-man, and he’s got knockout power in both hands.  So a couple of good shots and he could end up in a world title fight.  I hope he uses his best judgement, and realizes that everybody is taking this wickedly seriously, and Nevada is taking the first steps to ban any kind of exemptions.”

On whether or not Bellator 110 was their biggest show to-date:

“No.  Long Beach was bigger than this.  This was loud and amazing.  This is a great arena.  This is the first time we filled up the upper bowl here, which is awesome.  We were here for our first season, on ESPN Deportes, and I could have introduced myself to everyone.  It was a great crowd.  When Matt got in there, everyone went nuts, and when Rampage got in there, everyone went crazy.  It’s fun to see from a maturation perspective, and to think back to 2009 when there was nobody here, and now the place is just wall-to-wall.”

On Paul Sass fighting again in Bellator:

“Paul is under contract, and I think he has a fight booked in April, or in March.”

On Patricio Pitbull’s Comments:

“Pat’s going to fight Daniel coming up in two weeks, and then he can get the winner of that fight because Frodo still can’t get into the country.  You’ve got to remember, Pitbull fought for us five times on Spike last year.

On deciding whether or not to keep Khasbulaev if he can’t get a Visa:

“We’re going to keep him busy, fighting in Russia.  We’ve greenlit everything for him to fight.  He’s a wicked talent.  The Daley situation was different because he had a lot of legal issues around it, and finally enough was enough and we finally just backed off and let him go.  But Frodo is a beast.  It doesn’t appear to be one of those things that’s going to keep him out forever, but it’s kept him out for the last year.”

On what’s next for Will Brooks:

“We’ve got to give Will a fight in the interim, in close proximity [to Alvarez/Chandler].  Jansen’s still recuperating and won’t be ready until the fall, so we’ll see how it all falls out, and we’ll see what happens with Ed and Mike, and we’ll figure out if Will goes next or if Dave goes next.”

On Tito Ortiz:

“Still doing all the checks and balances with the medical stuff.  Scary words that came from a real top-tier doctor’s mouth for me.  I know he’s anxious, and he’s a competitor.  He’d like to compete, he wants to fight again.  He’s always in great shape, but I’m going to dot every ‘I’ and cross every ‘T’ before I put a guy in the cage that could conceivably have that kind of an issue with the neck.”

On Bellator’s May 17th PPV going up against UFC and Boxing:

“The crossover in terms of buys, when you look at the demographics and you look at the numbers, boxing doesn’t have a great impact, and boxing translates to a significantly different demographic.  So, I’m not concerned about the Mayweather fight.  Look, these are two of the greatest lightweights on Earth, and they put on the two greatest fights I’ve ever seen.  And now, we could have a co-main event that’s just got electricity all over it.  I’m not concerned about any competition in the mma space.”

On whether or not fans can go to bars to watch the May 17th pay-per-view:

“There’s a lot of commercial establishments that we’re working with right now that will have the pay-per-view.”