…Their CEO Bjorn Rebney, who has a background in boxing not MMA, had this to say to MMA Payout:
The key, he believes, is product differentiation. Unlike EliteXC, whose leaders openly criticized the UFC and aimed to challenge its supremacy, Bellator has taken precisely the opposite approach. “There is no need to change the material aspects of the game established by the UFC,” says Rebney. “Our goal is to duplicate many of the things they offer but fill in some of the blanks that consumers are missing.”
The missing elements, he claims, are a “sense of legitimate objectivity,” which he says is found in boxing but not in MMA. Bellator is not offering “a stale reality format” but a tournament that shows “an aspect of the game that is more pleasurable to watch. We let the fighters compete, track them and ultimately the best fighter wins.”
Perhaps, I’m misinterpreting what’s being said here, but “legitimate objectivity” is hardly a phrase that’s suitable for a sport constantly plagued by confusion, controversy, and corruption. Mixed martial arts isn’t perfect, but at least you can name the top ranked fighter in each weight class without much debate, which ultimately is what it’s all about, right? Can the same be said for boxing?
If we learned anything from the fall of ProElite, it’s that a promotion is only as good as the people who run it. From everything I’ve read about Bellator, the people running the organization seem to have the necessary experience in the production and marketing aspect, but their experience in mixed martial arts seems to be lacking. They’ve apparently hired former King of the Cage fighters/managers to compensate, but comments like the one above make me that much more skeptical than I already was that the necessary understanding of how this sport works isn’t there.
I’ll watch, mainly because they’ve signed Eddie Alvarez and quite a few decent fighters, but I’m not very confident we’ll have much, if anything, good to say about them at the end of ’09. Hopefully, they’ll prove me wrong.