I hate being that guy that says ‘we called it’ after the fact, but seriously in our August 4th 2013 MiddleEasy Sunday Morning Rumor Mill we told you guys that Bjorn Rebney was on his way out and that Scott Coker would be the guy to replace him. Now just shy of a year later, it actually happened. That’s right, first reported by Josh Gross and then confirmed by Ariel Helwani, Bjorn Rebney as well as COO Tim Danaher have been released of their positions and former Strikeforce boss Scott Coker is now going to be the head of Bellator.
Since this is such a momentous day in MMA, we thought it would only be appropriate to bring to you guys a list of The Top Ten Nuttiest Moments From Bjorn Rebney, only on MiddleEasy.
10.) We discovered Bjorn Rebney’s dad is the The Winnebaggo Man
The fact that Jack Rebney, the infamous Winnebago Man, is the father of Bellator CEO, Bjorn Rebney, is something that we all need to gather around the computer and awe over for the next fifteen years (starting today, of course). Living in Hollywood forces you to interact with a lot of pushy directors who send you screeners of their latest work in hopes that you will make some ridiculous article with a video of their trailer attached at the end. I would never do something so absurd, but when it comes to the former president of Bellator being related to the guy who’s made us all roll around on the floor in sheer laughter, I’ll make an exception. Check it out.
9.) Bjorn Rebney tries to kick out fight commentator Jimmy Smith
Back in 2010 it looked like Bellator color commentator, Jimmy Smith, was not coming back to Bellator. The decision was not on his accord, however. According to Jimmy Smith, Bjorn Rebney offered him an ‘unacceptable’ contract that somehow managed to be worse than his previous contract. MiddleEasy caught up with Jimmy Smith in 2010 to see what exactly happened with the deal and if he was coming back the next year.
Here’s the situation right now, we had a contract through 2011 to do Bellator. They wanted us to sign with their new network deal an extension of three years, starting with this year . The contract was just unacceptable, it wasn’t what we wanted so I refused to sign the extension. I thought the contract we had until 2011 was a better deal, and that was it. I haven’t heard anything since late November.
It’s possible that they can come back the eleventh hour and say ‘we want you back, here’s the deal’, but that looks increasingly unlikely is the best way I can put it.
It’s really odd, considering what I thought was a really great breakout 2010 year for Bellator and for Sean and myself as a broadcast team it feels like we had a lot of momentum and everything was going great — and then, boom. It was almost within — not even a week for everything to fall apart. It was really weird considering the kind of 2010 we had.
They actually wanted to replace Jimmy Smith with Neil ‘The Goliath’ Grove, which would have been one of the most Bellator things ever.
8.) UFC’s Jonathan Brookins reveals way too much about Bjorn Rebney
I’ve never met Jonathan Brookins. Neither have you. See, we both have something in common. We’re probably related. You’re probably my distant cousin, so the next time I’m in [insert your city], I guess that entitles me first dibs to crash on your sofa. Excellent, that’s exactly how I envisioned my life. Sleeping on a potpourri of sofas across the planet. If you have roaches that scavenge around your apartment at night, don’t worry, I know how to defend myself. Your roaches will not impede my need to sleep on your sofa. Insects and humans, we can all coexist in your apartment. No peace treaty needed.
LayzieTheSavage caught up with Jonathan Brookins in Las Vegas back in 2012 to see how it was like fighting in the 145 lb division, and accidentally stumbled on Brookins giving us an exclusive regarding Bellator suing him for what seems like an alleged breach of contract.
7.) Bjorn Rebney claims Ronda Rousey is all types of disrespectful
After reading this excerpt from a MMAJunkie interview in 2014 with the head of Bellator, it’s clear that Bjorn Rebney isn’t exactly the biggest fan of Ronda Rousey.
I would never want to verbalize disrespect for a fighter … but to characterize her as the biggest star in MMA is, I believe, a little disrespectful to a lot of fighters who have put in year after year after year in this game,” Rebney recently told MMAjunkie. “If Ronda fights ‘Cyborg’ and she could beat ‘Cyborg,’ I think that would be a big statement as to where she is in the game. But to characterize her as the biggest star is a bit disingenuous. I think there are a lot of huge stars in MMA.
In my own personal opinion, it seems like a very forced marketing position that someone’s taking because she’s attractive and she appears on a lot of magazine covers, and I think we saw that once before at Strikeforce, and (Gina Carano) fought ‘Cyborg’ and lost handedly,” Rebney said. “No disrespect to Brock (Lesnar), but he was forced into a situation very quickly coming off very few fights to be positioned as a world champ because he could be sold on pay-per-view. Not because he beat the best fighters in the world, but because he could be sold. I think we’re seeing the exact same thing in Ronda, and anyone who would tell you differently is not speaking the truth.
The only question that remains is if Bjorn Rebney and Dana White get in a cage, who would actually win? This is a serious inquiry — if Rebney can keep the distance he can pick him apart on his feet. White on the other hand will try to take him down, at least that what everyone would expect him to do.
6.) Bjorn Rebney claimed he would only release Ben Askren under one condition, and STILL released him
James Brown was always in the constant pursuit of urging people to ‘get down’ whenever possible. Years later, it’s clear that he was making a direct reference to Ben Askren’s MMA game.
Over the years we’ve seen a boisterous Askren take to Twitter, Facebook, and even MMA message boards to claim that he’s the greatest welterweight fighter, and thus far he’s 100% backed up his claims. In 2013 Ben Askren’s contract was finished with Bellator and Bjorn Rebney said he would release him from the promotion, but only if he gets an instant title shot against GSP. Check out this excerpt from this Josh Gross article in ESPN.com.
“He just called me and said straight up, ‘I think you’re the best welterweight in the world,'” Askren told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “I thought, OK, where’s he going with this?”
Rebney wondered aloud: “How about I let you go free if you fight GSP?”
Of course we all know how the story goes, Bjorn Rebney just released him (not under the advice of Viacom) and now the ‘best welterweight in the world’ is fighting dudes he could easily beat in ONE FC. Bummer.
5.) King Mo called Bjorn Rebney a ‘dick rider’ for Rampage Jackson
The greatest thing about Bellator’s first venture into PPVs is the moment when King Mo went off on Bjorn Rebney after his controversial decision loss and all of these respectable MMA outlets being forced to write ‘Dick Rider’ in their bylines.
We’re not sure what’s more memorable, Wolf Tickets or ‘Dick Riding,’ yet we all remember the moment when King Mo grabbed the microphone and screamed that Bjorn Rebney was ‘Dick Riding’ Rampage Jackson. We couldn’t find the post-fight statement, but King Mo did say the same thing in the locker room before the fight. Check it out.
4.) Eddie Alvarez published a contract with sneaky word changes from Bjorn Rebney
Back in 2013, the MMA world realized it was simply impossible for Bellator to truly match UFC’s Eddie Alvarez offer and the reason behind it was PPV revenue potentially obtained by Eddie Alvarez. Some people still didn’t understand, so we then broke down the entire contract conundrum with the assumption that you are a hungry Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
Alright, so you’ve just finished a night of defeating Shredder and the Footclan and the only thing you want to do is descend to your home in the sewer and eat some pizza. You call up your favorite pizza place and find out they have a special, a quarter-slice of their biggest pizza for only $5. Great, but just to weigh your other options you call another pizza place. You find out that another pizza joint is offering a quarter-slice of their biggest pizza for only $3 — and their biggest pizza is thirty-times bigger than the other pizza place. That means more pizza for less money, it’s a no brainier. However, you call up the old place and tell them of the incredible deal you discovered. Now the pizza place agrees to lower their price to $3 just so they can get your business — but they fail to address that their biggest pizza is thirty-times smaller than their competitor. That’s essentially the entire story of Eddie Alvarez, UFC, and Bellator — except instead of less money, it’s actually more. It’s also important to note the entire concept of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles takes an incredible amount of disbelief to accept as entertainment.
In that previous example, the competing pizza place is matching on material terms (writing in which a contract is specifically based), but failing to match the actual terms (which would be contextual, in the scenario above the exact size of the pizza). Eddie Alvarez published what he mentioned on The MMA Hour back in 2013 — Bjorn Rebney sent him a contract and then sent his management a different contract with the ‘correct’ terms in hopes that Eddie Alvarez would sign the contract himself. Have a look.
3.) Bjorn Rebney says that we are ‘ridiculous’ and have ‘no connection with reality’
In our last edition of the Sunday Morning Rumor Mill, a lot of stuff was aimed at Bellator, specifically the imminent financial problems that faced the organization. All of our stuff comes from relatively reliable sources, however it’s important to note that everything is the Sunday Morning Rumor Mill is just that, rumors. Apparently Bellator CEO, Bjorn Rebney, believes that everything in our latest edition of the Sunday Morning Rumor Mill is ‘ridiculous’ and has ‘no connection with reality.’
MMAFC: Have you read, or are you otherwise familiar with this Rumor Mill piece and its allegations?
MMAFC: Is all, or any of it true? What can you tell us about it?
BR: It is totally inaccurate. It is patently inaccurate and ridiculous. It is totally and completely meritless, with absolutely no connection to reality.
MMAFC: The next section runs through a list of dollar figures, which ends by saying that each show “leaves them in a substantial hole…”. Is this accurate?
BR: Every dollar amount listed is completely inaccurate. Again, patently inaccurate and ridiculous.
MMAFC: Next, we read that the hedge fund is “just not happy with the financial results thus far.” Is this true?
BR: No, it is not. I talk to our investors regularly, and they have frankly never been happier than they are right now. I just had a Sunday breakfast meeting with them, and to say that their overall mood was jovial, would be an understatement. Over the two years that we have been involved with our main investor, a Business Development Corporation (not actually a hedge fund) worth approximately $500 million, we have met all of our projections. That coupled with our multi-year television alliance, no more pre-emptions, and greatly increase market share has them very happy.
MMAFC: Have you given away a “substantial portion” of your share in Bellator to investors to ensure that they do not “pull the plug” on you?
BR: No, nothing of the sort has taken place. We structured our deal with our primary investor, and that has remained unchanged from then until now. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth, talking about investors pulling the plug. We have solid plans for Seasons 4, 5, and 6, currently in place. In 2011 we are going to have 25 shows, and in 2012 we are going to have 26 shows. With these plans, and our new TV deal, we have never been in a better place than we are now.
I know some of you aren’t that savvy with abbreviations, so BR stands for Bjorn Rebney and not the chemical element Bromine. Of course in the end we were right. In the end, MiddleEasy is always right.
2.) Bjorn Rebney blocks Eddie Alvarez from potentially making over one million dollars in his UFC debut
This article serves as evidence that I never should have received a C- in my 8th grade math class.
With the help of Jonathan Snowden’s brilliant article on the true science of UFC contracts and Jeremy Botter’s work digging up Eddie Alvarez’s UFC contract, I’ve created a scenario in which Eddie Alvarez could have mad a cool seven-figures in his UFC debut. If Eddie Alvarez’s fight against Ben Henderson was broadcast on a PPV card, did 725,000 buys, and Eddie prevailed victorious — he could have pocketed more cash than you will ever hold at one moment, ever. Check out this graphic we made of snippets from Alvarez’s contract in which he could have earned over a million dollars in his UFC debut, of course we’re not including revenue from sponsors or potential ‘Of The Night’ awards.
1.) Bjorn Rebney stalks Scott Coker to co-promote, Coker denies receiving them, then Rebney releases the TEXT MESSAGES
People need to realize that before Cyborg vs. Rousey, there was Alvarez vs. Melendez, and the verdict is still out as to who the greatest lightweight is. Gilbert Melendez vs. Eddie Alvarez is so obviously a fight that should take place, that it’s borderline hilarious that it hasn’t happened yet. In 2010 Bjorn Rebney wanted to assemble the fight so vehemently that he was willing to have the fight on Showtime (the home of Strikeforce at the time) and host the fight in San Jose, Melendez’s home town/area. This was all a tactic to leverage Bellator on the same level as Strikeforce, a tactic that was turned down by Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker.
In an interview with Sherdog, Scott Coker reveals just how clingy Bjorn Rebney was regarding this hypothetical bout.
Bjorn’s saying he’s texting me 11, 12 times an hour. I’m not sure if he’s trying to be a level-five clinger or anything like that, but I haven’t received one text from the guy. I’m not sure what the motivation is, but maybe it’s just his way of staying in the media, staying in the press.
Let’s face it: Gilbert’s fought everybody. He beat the guy that Eddie lost to. For them to say, ‘Oh, Gilbert’s ducking him’ — come on, let’s be real. Gilbert has ducked nobody, and neither has Eddie. These are two great fighters. The thing is, if Bjorn’s serious about doing this, then there has to be a business component that has to be worked out. Unfortunately that hasn’t started yet. It’s just been a bunch of stuff in the media. He’s chosen the media to use it as a platform to try to push this thing along, but I think it’s maybe a PR move.
It’s very obvious to me he’s using the media as a platform to try to do his business, but that’s not how we’re going to do business. If he wants to do business, call me or fly out here, come sit down with me. If there’s a deal to be made, we’ll try to make it, but I’m not going to do it in the media. That’s for sure.
In a moment that can only make my ex-girlfriend proud, Bjorn Rebney released screen captures of his cell phone that allegedly showed he attempted to contact Scott Coker on multiple occasions, yet to no avail. That, my friends, is the number one nuttiest moment from Bjorn Rebney in Bjorn Rebney history (so far, at least).