Middle Easy raised a few eyebrows this past weekend in their weekly Sunday Morning Rumor Mill column for publishing rumors that basically suggested Bellator FC has been hemorrhaging money and won’t be in business much longer. Similar rumors have persisted for months, could things finally be coming to a head?
Not according to Bellator FC CEO Bjorn Rebney. He is vehemently denying the rumors, claiming they have “no connection with reality,” and blasted Middle Easy for, as he put it, creating a “fantasy” and putting it on the internet.
“Usually, when you see rumors that are completely ridiculous, they’re coupled with something that’s true,” Rebney told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “In this instance, it’s false on top of false on top of completely ridiculous on top of completely unfounded.”
“Either it’s someone just starting rumors for the sake of starting rumors, or it’s just the most ridiculous type of amateurish nonsense,” Rebney said of the report. “I don’t even like to call it journalism because it has no connection to reality.
“That blog, whoever that is that wrote that, is just so filled with nonsense. It’s completely, unequivocally untrue on every front they wrote. It’s literally as if someone stepped out and just said, ‘I’m going to create whichever fantasy I choose to create, and I’m going to write it.’ There wasn’t even the slightest hint of accuracy or truth in anything that showed up on that blog.
“It’s the downside and the negativity of the Internet. Any idiot can write any ridiculous, completely unfounded nonsense thing, and it can gain traction.”
While there were many details posted, the biggest one centered around Bellator’s new television deal that Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney hinted at recently. As rumor has it, Bellator has been working on a deal with G4, but since DirecTV dropped G4 from their line-up last week, the deal fell through, thus leaving Bellator without a broadcast partner for their fourth season. However, according to Rebney, they’ve never even had a conversation with G4, and have already finalized a deal with a different network for season four.
“We have never spoken to, never met with, never had any form of communication with G4,” Rebney said. “When I say never, I mean we’ve never had a conversation, never had any type of interplay with them and Bellator. There’s never been a letter sent, there’s never been an email, and there’s never been any form of meeting. There’s no conceivable connection to us in any way, shape or form.”
“We’ve finalized a new deal, and we’re in the process right now of getting everything out,” Rebney said. “Everything that needs to get done has not been done yet in order to make an announcement, but we’re in a position right now where I’m very hopeful that either immediately before or immediately after Thanksgiving we’ll make an announcement relative to where we’re going to be moving forward. That’s in a great spot. That’s been a lot of hard work and effort on a lot of people’s part.”
Rebney also refuted claims that Bellator’s investors are unhappy and that he gave away a substantial portion of his stock in the company to convince the investors “not to pull the plug.” Not only that, Rebney says they’ve hit all their projected milestones and are on the cusp of breaking even.
“We’ve absolutely hit our numbers,” Rebney said. “The reason our investors are comfortable and happy where we are is that what we projected we were going to lose to get to this point, we have lost, and what we projected we were going to make to get to the next stage – and the dates under which we projected we would hit cash flow break even – we’ve hit. A lot of people say, ‘They’ve lost money.’ Well, we haven’t lost money. What we’ve done is utilized the invested capital we were given exactly as we said we would use it.
“The key to a good business plan is you project certain things are going to occur, be they revenue or be they expense, and you hit them. That’s what we’ve done. We’ve got a very comfortable and satisfied investment group who’s moving forward with us and is happy to be moving forward with us. Under two years into our growth, we’re at a cash flow break-even perspective, which is a total anomaly in not just our space but most businesses. We’re exactly where we projected we would be.”
So were the rumors of Bellator’s impending demise just that, rumors? Well, Rebney certainly sounds convincing, I’ll say that. It’s probably safe to say the G4 rumors weren’t true considering he says their new television deal is finalized, an announcement is forthcoming and he’s never even spoke to G4. If he was lying about that, we’d find out real quick. But does that mean the rest of the rumors were false too? I have no idea, but I have doubts that everything is rainbows and unicorns over at Bellator as Rebney portrays it. Like many others, I’ve often wondered how Bellator makes money with weekly shows spread out across the country. But without access to their financials or the terms of their television, sponsorship and venue deals all we really have are our suspicions. The way I see it, if Bellator gets season four kicked off early next year like Rebney promises, that’s probably a pretty good sign that everything is OK at least for now.