Bjorn Rebney Expects ‘Crazy Fight’ Between Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson; Talks PPV Plans for Future

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney will be in the MMA spotlight in the coming months as Bellator not only makes their first foray in to the PPV market but also in the return of Eddie Alvarez to the Bellator cage.

After the Bellator 98 post-fight Press Conference, Rebney discussed all things Bellator MMA including Alvarez’s rematch with current Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, and their plans for PPV cards in the future. Rebney also covered the main event of the first PPV card in Bellator’s history:

“We’re not a PPV company. We don’t have to do PPV’s month in and month out to survive and have a positive flow of revenue. We’re a free TV product. We will occasionally do PPV’s but I don’t have projections or benchmarks we need to hit in order for me to be satisfied. I just want to see a recuperated and healed Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. I’ve known Tito for 10 years. Tito’s back, his neck’s good, the knee’s good. I think we’ll see a crazy fight there. Chandler/Alvarez is going to be insane. King Mo and Newton in the rematch is going to be crazy. Strauss vs. Curran, probably the toughest fight that Curran’s had. I think it’ll be really good.”

Rebney also touched upon Alvarez’s return to action for Bellator, leaving out details from a long drawn-out legal dispute and instead focusing on the particulars of the upcoming rematch to the 2011 Fight of the Year candidate against Chandler:

“Settled with Ed and he’s fighting Michael Chandler, which should be his total and complete focus. I think Mike’s the best lightweight in mixed martial arts today. I think he beats anyone and everyone in any organization. Ed’s a world-class 155-pounder and he’s going to have his hands full. Mike’s gotten better since the last time they fought so it’s going to be an incredible fight. If they give us 50% of what they gave us the last time I’ll be thrilled. It’s the best fight I’ve ever seen.”

Rebney also maintained plans for Bellator’s tournament format in the future, stating that Bellator is ‘all about’ the format that sees seemingly worthy contender earn his title shot in the finals per division:

“From ESPN Deportes, FOX Sports Network, Mundos and MTV2 we didn’t have enough events with enough size to them to be able to facilitate getting guys repetitive fights. Now we’ve got it. Now the system is in place. The tournament format is what we’re all about. That’s what makes Bellator, Bellator. We’re sticking to it, but you’ve got to be able to move and acquiesce and get out of the way of some of the punches metaphorically. You need to be able to make title fights happen.”

Rebney then moved to the topic of their recently implemented Tournament Champion Replacement clause which replaces a title challenger if they are medically unfit to give a champion a defense, prompting increased title defenses per year for a champion:
“You can’t ask a guy likeĀ Alexander Shlemenko, who hasn’t fought in five and half months, to wait another three months in the hopeful anticipation that Doug Marshall’s hand is going to heal. We had to come up with a system to backfill that so there was an objective system in place to find out who is going to fight for the world title. It might not be the guy who won the tournament. There’s a step by step, objective process that we put in place. The tournament format is who we are. We’re sticking to it. We’re not deviating from it, but you’ve got to be able to change direction a little bit and fill gaps when they come. That’s what we’ve done.”
Bellator’s first PPV event is scheduled for November 2nd at the Convention and Entertainment Center in Long Beach, California.
Here is the full card to date:
Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton Jackson
Michael Chandler (c) vs. Eddie Alvarez
Pat Curran (c) vs. Daniel Straus
Muhammed Lawal vs. Emanuel Newton (For Interim Light-Heavyweight Title)
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