Bellator Executives Bjorn Rebney, Tim Danaher Announce Departure

By Tristen Critchfield Jun 18, 2014
Bjorn Rebney is out at Bellator MMA. | Photo: Dave Mandel/

Major changes are in the works for Bellator MMA.

Spike TV announced on Wednesday that Bellator founder, CEO and Chairman Bjorn Rebney -- as well as Bellator President and COO Tim Danaher -- are parting ways with the company, effective immediately.

While rumors have circulated that former Strikeforce president Scott Coker was in line for Rebney’s job, a release states that replacements have yet to be found for Rebney or Danaher.

“It is with bittersweet emotions that I announce that I am leaving the company I founded. I have great pride in having turned my vision into reality, a thriving business with television distribution to over 140 countries around the world, a partnership with one of the world’s largest entertainment giants and wide array of sponsors, partners and strategic allies all over the globe. This has been a wonderful eight plus years of creation, development and success,” Rebney said. “I will miss the courageous, strong and dedicated fighters I have had the pleasure of promoting, and equally, I will miss the incredibly hard working, remarkable team that has become a family for me over the years. Viacom and Tim and I differed in our views of the right strategic direction for Bellator, but Tim and I both wish them well.”

Under Rebney, Bellator became arguably mixed martial arts’ No. 2 organization. The company signed a deal with Viacom to move from ESPN Deportes to MTV2 in 2010. In 2011, Viacom acquired a majority stake in Bellator, eventually prompting a move to Spike in January 2013.

Bellator held 121 events under Rebney’s watch, including its first-ever pay-per-view event in May. The promotion’s next card is set for July 25 at the Pechanga Resort in Temecula, Calif.

“I would like to thank Bjorn and Tim on behalf of Spike and Viacom for their dedication and hard work building Bellator from the ground up,” Spike TV President Kevin Kay said. “They worked tirelessly in getting Bellator to where it is today. They were great partners to work with and we wish them all the best.”
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