(Step one of trying to create a strategic partnership with another organization: Publicly claim CEO of other organization is a goddamned liar. That’s some Dale Carnegie shit, right there. PicProps: Connect.in.com)
We’ve got a classic (and totally stupid) media gambit on our hands here between Bellator honcho Bjorn Rebney and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. Ever since Bellator decided that one of its primary corporate strategies would be to continually repeat the dubious claim that Eddie Alvarez is the No.1 lightweight fighter in the world, it’s been publicly pushing for a co-promotional, company vs. company show with Strikeforce. Rebney took the idea to the MMA media, saying he’d “love” for the two promotions to double-up on a pay-per-view effort featuring a bevy of cross-brand championship matches, but that Coker wasn’t calling him back about it. In response, Coker – who’s always down for totally mishandling a public relations opportunity – went on Sherdog Radio this week to say he too was interested, but denied he’d ever heard from Rebney and accused Bellator of pulling a PR stunt. Naturally, Bellator’s next move was to release what it alleges are a bunch of Rebney’s text messages to Coker. Ruh-roh.
It’s pretty easy to imagine someone in the Bellator office pumping their fist and yelling out, “Checkmate, motherfucker!” as they hit “send” on this particular email, which reportedly contained four fairly low-quality snapshots of Rebney’s texts. The images are after the jump, of course. If you squint, you can even kind of read them.
Props to Bloody Elbow for the screengrabs of those bad boys, by the way. Now, those of you who were lucky enough to follow the recent media shitstorm about how Brett Favre’s cock wound up on the internet will no doubt detect the similar and increasingly desperate tone of a man scorned in each of Rebney’s texts. Dig the over-the-top sarcasm of, "As always, I’m available at your convenience," in text No. 3. Nice, playa. Dude even offers to buy dinner in that last one.
More importantly, now that he’s outed Coker as a liar to the media, it’s pretty clear the notion of a Bellator-Strikeforce supershow (which would be cool) has about a zero percent chance of ever becoming reality. And somewhere, Dana White high-fived whatever paid lackey he keeps around to high-five him when he experiences a moment of particularly sweet personal triumph.
Frankly, even after reading Rebney’s gradual regression from interested fellow promoter to annoying psycho ex-girlfriend in these texts, it does seem like kind of a dick move for Coker to (allegedly) not respond. Even if Coker doesn’t have unlimited texts on the family cell plan he no doubt purchased for himself and Strikeforce’s four other employees, it would only take two characters to tell Rebney: “No.”
No Bjorn, I don’t want to take the substantial risk of matching my already somewhat obscure champions against your even lesser-known but just-as-dangerous champions in a PPV event. No, I don’t want to take the chance of Alvarez and Hector Lombard showing up on a future Bellator broadcast and dropping the Strikeforce belts in a trash can. No, I don’t want to subject my audience to watching Ben Askren fight. No thanks, though that free dinner sounds delightful. Your pal, Scott.
In fact, we don’t know who’s more to blame here in what amounts to yet another instance of two independent MMA promoters sabotaging what otherwise could have been a pretty cool idea. If anybody was actually serious about this in the first place, it was dumb for Rebney to essentially call Coker out in the media after not hearing back from him for, what? Five days? It was even dumber for Coker to then say he’d never been contacted by Rebney even though there are clearly (alleged) written transcripts of it. Further, it was even more dumber-er for Rebney to then make Coker look bad by putting his dirt in the street.
Great job here, everybody. And we wonder why Zuffa continues to absolutely choke the life out of the competition.
Update: Strikeforce now says Rebney has been texting Coker at an old number. Apparently Coker changed his digits and didn’t tell Bjorn. Wonder why.