As Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney looks at what has happened in the fifth season, he can't help but still be amazed at how well his fighters perform week in and week out. He talked to Cagewriter about some of his favorite moments of the season and Bellator's future.
"The thing that's made me happy is the level of fights. From event no. 3 on, they've just been great. Dantas' flying knee, Alexis [Vila], the way that he knocked out Joe Warren was crazy, Brian Rogers, and saying to me in the incredibly articulate way he speaks as a teacher, 'I'm going to bring it.' And then he did. Shlemenko pulling of a submission victory, there's all these things that have been jumping out at me. There's just been moment after moment," Rebney said.
One of the fights that he is most looking forward to is the Nov. 19 title fight between champ Eddie Alvarez and tournament champ Michael Chandler. He says that no one should count out Chandler.
"Nobody is talking about Chandler in the upper echelon of the division. I'll be honest with you. I don't know if I can count on one hand the guys who can beat him."
That fight will air on MTV2, but with the UFC ending their relationship with Spike TV, there's a chance that Bellator could switch to the station that is aimed towards young men. Bellator's preliminary fights air on Spike's website, and Bellator's deal is with MTV's parent company.
"We're a great position in that our deal is with MTV networks, so it's that larger corporate umbrella. They control Spike, MTV, MTV2. You never know what the future will bring. The foreseeable future will be what it is, which is MTV2 and Spike.com for the prelims, but Spike is better than anyone in this space. They get it better than anyone."
Rebney is also excited about some of the challenges coming up for his fighters, both in and out of Bellator. He said that they are working on a match-up between DREAM fighter Shinya Aoki and Alvarez, but that it will likely happen in February, after Aoki fights in DREAM's New Year's Eve show.
Warren is working on returning to his wrestling roots and will try to make the 2012 Greco-Roman wrestling Olympic team. Rebney supports the world champion wrestler in trying to go for the gold.
"It's a great platform for Warren. If he can be our champion at 145, and then go and make the U.S. Olympic team, what a great thing for Bellator and for MMA."