What’s up in the world of BellatorMMA?
There’s been a lot of moving and shaking in Bellator land in the past months. So let’s start from the top shall we?
Bjorn Rebney, former President and CEO, has stepped down and was immediately succeeded by former Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. Now Coker is not new to the game of mma or promoting fights, even I remember Coker from his days as a Tae Kwon Do practitioner with West Coast Tae Kwon Do, founded by GM Ernie Reyes Sr, GM Tony Thompson, and GM Ed Fong. Coker has been promoting events dating back to the mid 80’s. I remember back in 85 going to a kickboxing/point kighting event Coker put together in San Jose.
Coker already brings a new vision to BellatorMMA, stating he will be moving away from the tournament format that Bellator was primarily known for and going to a more conventional approach making fights the fans want to see. This is a tried and true format that not only he used in Strikeforce but is also used by all the other big promotions such as the UFC.
Eddie Alvarez, former Bellator Lightweight Champ and top 10 lightweight in the world, was recently released from his contract and then signed with the UFC. Alvarez attempted to leave Bellator a couple of years ago, which then CEO Rebney matched the offer that the UFC had given to Alvarez, leading to a legal battle in which a contract dispute was at the helm of it all. Coker, being familiar with the situation, didn’t want to hold Alvarez back and granted his release.
Is BellatorMMA now a home for close to retired UFC fighters?
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Cheick Kongo, Tito Ortiz and recently signed Stephan “the American Psycho” Bonnar are recognizable names in the fight game and have been for years. They are all now in BellatorMMA, attempting to get back in title contention and show the mma world that they are not done. This past Friday's Bellator on SpikeTV we saw the pro wrestling themed fight announcement between Bonnar and Ortiz. I was extremely disappointed when Bonnar, alongside a masked man who apparently was a former training partner of Ortiz, went on a rant talking how Ortiz pissed off a bunch of people in the mma world. The people mentioned included former friends, training partners and family members. Bonnar then boasted he is going to "rid the world of the virus” that Ortiz is. After the rant Bonnar proceeded to remove the mask of former fighter, an Ortiz confidant, Justin McCully. Bonnar even made a remark of Ortiz’s estranged wife and former porn queen Jenna Jameson. A shoving match ensued ala King Mo and Rampage and was immediately intervened on by Bellator staff and security.
I'm not quit sure where BellatorMMA is headed but if it is half as successful as Strikeforce was then I will be happy. Scott Coker has his work cut out for him but based upon has past track record I'm sure we are going to see some moves towards the right direction of a solid mma promotion!