Bellator Fighting Championships CEO Bjorn Rebney discussed many of the current events surrounding his company earlier this week.
With Bellator 48 taking place tonight, featuring the featherweight tournament finale between Pat Curran and Marlon Sandro, along with Cole Konrad facing Paul Buentello and Ricco Rodriguez meeting Seth Petruzelli, Rebney had plenty to talk about including Rodriguez, featherweight champion Joe Warren and former champ Joe Soto.
Rodriguez, a former UFC heavyweight champion, is riding a 12-fight win streak and looking to make a name for himself in Bellator.
“This is kind of an elevation in level of fighter that he’s going to go up against. That should be a very interesting fight. We forget because Ricco’s been around so long…you think of him in terms of (beating) Randy (Couture) and that he should be in his 40s,” Rebney said, “but he’s still relatively young. He’s back in shape. He’s hugely focused. He’s been training like a crazed dog…Ricco just kept winning and winning and winning and talking to us. We wanted to make a good fight to really get a solid look.”
Warren, who will compete in the bantamweight tournament, is scheduled to face Patricio Freire sometime after “Pitbull” earned a title shot but suffered a broken hand, dealing the bout.
“What we’re looking at right now is, the moment “Pitbull” is healed and once Joe is through the bantamweight tournament…of course, Joe could be out in the first round or Joe could win it. If Joe wins it, then “Pitbull” vs. Warren for the featherweight title will have to happen around the January-February timeframe,” Rebney said. “If Joe gets eliminated, which given the depth of this 135-pound tournament…is not beyond the scope of reality, then you can do “Pitbull” and Warren earlier. It just depends on how quickly “Pitbull” heals and is able to take that fight.”
With the tourney and his title defense, it is possible Warren fights as many as seven times next year, according to Rebney.
Also, Rebney commented on Joe Soto, who lost in a tune-up fight to Eddie Yagin earlier this month, but was placed in the bantamweight tourney prior to that.
“We’ve been taking to his management,” Rebney said. “To say that Joe Soto hit a hiccup is an understatement. It all ended very fast and very dominantly. We’re probably going to be making a decision on that in the next four or five days.
“I have a soft spot for Joe Soto. He was the first champion we ever crowned. He’s just a good kid.”
Bellator 48 can be seen tonight on MTV2.