The end of the era of a Bjorn Rebney-run Bellator has arrived as the now former chairman and CEO of the promotion has left, along with the president and COO, Tim Danaher. The news was made public in a press release issued by Viacom.
“It is with bittersweet emotions that I announce that I am leaving the company I founded,” Rebney stated. “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. 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.”
Rebney founded Bellator in 2008 and built the promotion in to the biggest competitor to the UFC’s stake as the world’s largest MMA promotion. Media giant Viacom took note and purchased a majority stake in the company in 2011, opening up connections and funding for Bellator to continue its growth. As of late, Bellator has been announcing a string of high-profile sponsor and partnership deals.
Bellator airs on the Viacom-owned Spike TV and will continue to do so. Spike TV is the fourth home for Bellator as they debuted on ESPN Deportes, before briefly moving to FOX Sports Net, and then to MTV 2, where their popularity and presence grew.
Bellator’s next event takes place on July 25th, with Rebney included in the press release announcing the event and discussing the fighter’s involved on the card.
The president of Spike TV, Kevin Kay, had this to say in a prepared statement:
“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. 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.”
To replace Rebney, former CEO and the founder of Strikeforce, Scott Coker, will likely be announced as his replacement, according to MMAFighting.com.