Strikeforce vs. Bellator

By Jake Rossen Nov 1, 2010

Bjorn Rebney file photo: D. Mandel |

“Sleep on it” is some of the best advice you could ever give or get. Something that seems like a good idea early in the day will often become suspect with the benefit of a little hindsight. (If you happen to be Tito Ortiz, take a week.)

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney could’ve used some perspective before releasing photos of his cell phone displaying texts to Strikeforce’s Scott Coker over the weekend. The photos, intended to contradict Coker’s assertion that he was never contacted about a potential Eddie Alvarez/Gilbert Melendez co-promotional bout, are a bizarre overreaction: this is MMA, not a federal investigation. Submitting evidence for the court of public opinion rarely ends in a resolution.

Let’s say Coker got the requests for a meeting. He clearly ignored them. What does that tell you? He’s not interested in a dialogue about unifying belts. Or his television partners -- which absolutely dwarf Rebney’s deal with Fox Sports and their hide-the-show programming strategy -- have no interest in devaluing talent by seeing their opposition return to a rival promotion. Let’s say Alvarez, Bellator’s champion, beats Melendez into paste. What was the upside for Showtime again?

Maybe Rebney is more self-aware than I give him credit for, and the melodrama is a way for a promoter to promote. I get it. But part of what makes the UFC the dominant brand is the idea, whether it’s true or not, that they’re the ones being pursued. You will never see Dana White issuing a press release about unanswered text messages to HBO. Rebney is a presence with some good ideas and solid talent, but he needs a delay button. Too bad he’d probably prefer a wiretap.

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