Monday Hangover: Bellator’s Bjorn Rebney

Perhaps you caught Friday’s Bellator season premiere? If not, shame on you! There were some amazing matches, including Pat Curran knocking the snot out of now-former-champion Joe Warren. And that’s only part of the reason Bellator’s main man Bjorn Rebney has this week’s Monday Hangover.

Curran vs. Warren
This started out being a standard fight for both men. Joe Warren was aggressive, and dominating the rounds through his takedowns and wrestling, and Pat Curren was starting slow, like he does, and slipping out of all of Warren’s takedowns. Both men landed shots, but the bigger Curran, who cut weight predictably landed the bigger shots. (Warren said before the fight that he thought Curran’s weight cut was too much and he’d have the advantage, especially as they got into the later rounds and Warren’s pressure-based style wore on Curran)

Then Curran landed a knee to Warren’s chin and swarmed. The ref put a stop to the bout but not after a 24-second barrage that included Warren not only not fighting back but turning away from Curran. It went on way to long and Warren took a lot of unnecessary punishment. Remember, part of the reason MMA is safer than boxing is that MMA refs step in when a fight is clearly over. And this ref didn’t.

So why doesn’t the ref get the Hangover? Because this is only the tip of the iceberg for Bellator.

Bjorn Rebney’s going out and reinforcing his decision to limit Bellator to a tournament-only promotion. Meaning, while there are a few tournaments going in a few weight classes, all of the fighters they’ve been so aggressively signing are sitting around and not working for the promotion. And they’ve got some exciting fighters!

It doesn’t help any that certain contracts are ending (looking at you, Eddie Alvarez) and they may start losing their top guys as the UFC gets more aggressive with their acquisitions and Strikeforce adds to their roster to fill in what they are losing when the heavyweights go away. BAMMA UK has shown an aggressive streak and Canada’s MFC is always looking to expand.

Bellator is on the verge of potentially huge growth when Spike’s year of UFC reruns is over and they move main events to the channel. When Viacom bought them, they gave Bellator something any promotion would love: a huge corporate backer with not only lots of money but lots of outlets for publicity. Limiting Bellator’s appeal is not the best way to capitalize on this opportunity.

So, for squandering opportunity and for a main event that ended well after it should have, possibly damaging the company’s reputation at a time it is trying to maintain or build its brand, Bellator’s Bjorn Rebney gets this week’s Monday Hangover.

*”Honorable” Mention: Bob Sapp, whose headlining bout at the inaugural Super Fight League event ended with a knee injury. Hope he’s OK to fight his next scheduled bout in a few weeks.