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Classic Crush: 20 Photos of Erika Eleniak, Super-Babe of the ’90s

Tag: Bjorn Rebney

Is MMA About to Enter a New Golden Age?


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

“It’s always darkest before it’s totally black.”-Mao Zedong (supposedly).

This quote aptly described MMA’s immediate future, or at least it seemed to until very recently. Card quality, fan interest, and–most importantly–numbers were all declining; 2014′s PPV buy ceiling of 350,000 was 2009′s floor. MMA was headed for a perplexing time when it was simultaneously bigger than ever but smaller than ever, when the fighters were more talented than ever but less popular than ever.

A series of fortunate events and new found circumstances can change all that. To make a Back to the Future reference, the horrific, Biff Tannen-owned Hill Valley that represented MMA’s future may well become the nice, stable Hill Valley in which George McFly is a successful fiction author and Marty McFly bangs his girlfriend in the back of a pickup truck. That is to say, MMA might be approaching a level of popularity, constancy and quality that many (including myself) didn’t think it was capable of reaching in the current climate.

What’s the reason for this cautious optimism?

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It’s Official: Former Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker Steps in as Bjorn Rebney’s Bellator Replacement


(“Yes Dana, enjoy your reign as MMA king for now, because it’s all about to come crumbling down. Three years from now. MWAHAHAHA!!!”)

Ladies and gentlemen, it brings us great pleasure to announce that Bellator MMA will no longer be run by a dick-riding, UFC-aping lunatic who once drove a railroad spike through a dog’s head to intimidate a rival promoter. Let’s all take a moment to celebrate.

Amid reports that Bjorn Rebney had been forced out of his role with Bellator earlier today, the promotion has officially announced that, yes, former Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker will be taking over as head honcho. According to a press release sent out by Spike TV just an hour ago, the promotion will also be diverting from their classic tournament-based style and towards “bigger fights.” Said Kevin Kay:

We are excited to have Scott Coker lead us in a new direction as we evolve the league format from a tournament-based organization to a more traditional model with big fights.

(*crosses fingers*) Please let “big fights” mean freakshows, please let big fights mean freakshows…

Bellator is planning to hold a media conference call at 6 p.m. ET, and we will update you on any important details that emerge from it.

-J. Jones

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Bellator Parts Ways With Bjorn Rebney, Scott Coker to Replace Him [UPDATED]


(Kimbo, it’s Bjorn. Listen…do you think Reality Kings needs any more security guards?” / Photo via MMAFighting)

Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney — the man who built the MMA promotion from a scrappy underdog on ESPN Deportes to a major player on Spike TV and pay-per-view — has left the building. Viacom officially announced today that Rebney as well as Bellator president and Chief Operating Officer Tim Danaher have left the organization, effective immediately.

As MMAFighting reported last night, it wasn’t exactly an amicable split; Rebney was forced out due to his ongoing conflicts with Viacom regarding the direction of the promotion. [Ed. note: Whoever wanted to turn Bellator into a home of freak-show/throwback MMA and surreal promos, CagePotato is on your side.] Considering that Viacom bought a majority stake in Bellator back in October 2011, the media monolith certainly had the power to kick Bellator’s founder out of his own operation.

But it gets crazier: Rebney’s replacement is expected to be none other than Scott Coker, the former Strikeforce founder and CEO who has kept a very low profile since Zuffa bought his promotion in 2011. From MMAFighting: “Once Coker’s contract and non-compete clause with Zuffa…expired in March, the wheels were in motion to bring him on board.”

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UFC Fighters and the (Fictional) Crimes They’ve Committed: The Winners!


(Dennis Hallman — Catfishing. Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.)

Last week’s “UFC Fighters and the Fictional Crimes They’ve Committed” contest, if nothing else, proved that MMA-themed comedy is not as easy as it sounds. If you don’t believe me, just ask that MMA Roasted guy (*mimes shotgun blast*). There were some mildly amusing entries among your overplayed and plain confusing attempts at humor, however, so let’s get to the honorable mentions…

Rick Gemi: Rashad Evans – Brandishing a stanky leg without a license

Brad Fowler: Ben Henderson — receiving stolen property (decisions)

Jay Smith: Brock Lesnar — Impersonating a UFC fighter

Travis Anderson: Tim Sylvia — Public Defecation

Just so you guys are aware, dropping a Tim Sylvia poop joke will earn you an honorable mention at the minimum in all future contests, as per the CagePotato mandate.

And now, the winners…

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Update: Bellator 120 Pulled Over 100,000 Pay-Per-View Buys [WHAAAAAT?]


(Looks like Bjorn is dick-ridin’ all the way to the bank. / Photo via TheExaminer)

Earlier this week, initial estimates pegged Bellator 120: Rampage vs. King Mo as earning 65,000 pay-per-view buys — a number that exceeded the basement-level expectations of most observers. But it turns out that Bellator 120 wasn’t just a moral victory. As first reported by Sherdog (and later confirmed by MMAFighting), Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view card did over 100,000 buys, making it an unqualified success

Sherdog’s report was based on an anonymous source “speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release buy-rate data.” The source explained that the buyrate information will be readily available in Viacom’s SEC filings later this year.

In a statement released to MMAFighting, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney played it cool: “I won’t be discussing specific PPV buy rates, but what I can say is that with one of our main events falling out just seven days before our first PPV, a six figure plus buy rate is a good starting point. But, it’s just that, a starting point. My focus is to continue working with our partners at Spike to create the type of big event experience that we created on the 17th.”

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UFC 173 vs. Bellator 120: Which Did More Web Traffic?

By Matt Saccaro

Despite the UFC’s legal team being among CagePotato’s most avid readers, we can’t convince them to give us any insights into the UFC’s PPV business. We can only judge a card’s interest by the PPV estimates that circulate a few weeks after an event has passed.

There’s another way to judge fans’ interest in a particular fight card though: Web traffic.

In between discussions about which IFL team was the best (I’m a huge Quad City Silverbacks fan), we at CagePotato headquarters started opining about how Bellator 120: Rampage vs. King Mo would compare to a low-level UFC PPV. Some of us said it’d bury an event like UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw in terms of traffic, some of us said it would get buried.

Now that fight week(end) is over, we can jump into AnalyticsPotato mode and see which fight card wowed the web more. And to be clear, I’m using unique page views as the primary metric to judge interest. And by “coverage” we mean articles before/during/after the card that are about the card. Seems obvious but it’s important to be clear.

Earlier in the week, we reported on the CagePotato twitter that Bellator 120 received about 34% more traffic, but that calculation was made in error. There were a couple of articles in our UFC 173 coverage that I forgot to include in the tally. However, even with these pieces added, Bellator 120 still wins out. Bellator 120′s coverage, on the whole, received 11% more traffic than UFC 173′s.

Other random insights:

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Bellator 119 a Success but Storm Clouds Gather for PPV Prospects


(Via Brian J. D’Souza)

By Brian J. D’Souza

Last night, Bellator 119 was held at Casino Rama in Orillia, a sleepy town about two hours north of Toronto. By some standards, the show was a success—it featured performances by a talented, well-matched card punctuated with Daniel Weichel (33-8) finishing Desmond Green (11-2) via rear naked choke in the second round of the featherweight tournament finale. It was the type of mid-level show that has proved financially sustainable in the gritty dog-eat-dog world of MMA promotions. Regardless of sweeping reports from Sherdog.com and MMAFighting.com that Eddie Alvarez is pulling out of the inaugural Bellator pay-per-view show next week (reports that Bjorn Rebney denied at the post-fight presser), the promotion’soverall prospects for expansion are limited.

On the undercard of Bellator 119, Brazilian featherweight Marlon Sandro faced London, Ontario native Chris Horodecki. Sandro controlled the pace, committing to his strikes and dominating Horodecki to earn the judge’s decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27). At the post-fight presser, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney explained reasons why the bout was intentionally hidden among the untelevised preliminary bouts:

“Ran into some difficult contract situations that came to light in the last 24-48 hours before the fight…we all felt it was a better decision to keep the [Sandro-Horodecki] fight off TV and not exacerbate a bad situation,” said Rebney. “We got a lot of claims coming in from other camps that were claiming an interest in Chris Horodecki. We didn’t want to put him in a horrible spot of receiving a big lawsuit.”

Chris Horodecki has fought in three separate promotions since his last three-fight Bellator stint. If he is still under contract to another promotion, Horodecki needs to question his management for placing him in the precarious lose-lose position of limited exposure and shortchanging Bellator’s TV product.

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Concussion Forces Eddie Alvarez Out of Bellator PPV

Did Dana White study voodoo from Michael Jackson or something? Because Bellator has had worse luck than than nearly any promotion in the history of MMA when it comes to launching a successful PPV.

In case the headline didn’t tip you off, Eddie Alvarez is out of Bellator 120—the promotion’s second attempt to break into the PPV market. His rubber match with Michael Chandler will have to wait.

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Bellator 110 Recap: Rampage KOs M’Pumbu, King Mo Edges Zayats, Rebney Announces Next PPV


(Photo via Getty)

Bellator is back, but not necessarily in a big way. Bellator 110 saw the more marketable Rampage Jackson and Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal prevail, but neither man looked stellar.

What about the rest of the card? The event started off rocky. The first two preliminary bouts ended in unsatisfying no contests—the first due to an accidental illegal knee. The second was the result of an accidental eye poke.

Of note: Daniel Weichel defeated Scott Cleve in the quarterfinal round of Bellator’s season 10 featherweight tournament. He won via submission, though the rear-naked choke was set up by a gorgeous straight right. When Cleve was on the mat, his brains were far too scrambled to adequately prevent Weichel from taking his back and working for the choke. In another prelim quarterfinal bout, Will Martinez upset the highly touted, 21-year-old prospect, Goiti Yamauchi via unanimous decision. Martinez was stronger and fought a smarter fight. He bullied and smothered Yamauchi, who was stymied by Martinez’s aggression.

The main card kicked off with the third featherweight tournament quarterfinal.

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And Now He’s Fired: Bellator Releases Ben Saunders, For Some Reason [UPDATED]


(“You want to put me on a t-shirt? Sure, sounds great buddy!” — Marcus Davis / Photo via topmmanews)

Since his Bellator debut in 2011, Ben Saunders has been one of the most visible and entertaining members of the promotion’s welterweight division. But unfortunately, he was never able to win a tournament, failing to secure the Big Check in three consecutive years. And so, in the wake of his head kick knockout loss to Douglas Lima at Bellator 100 in September, Bellator has released the Killa B. Bjorn Rebney explained the decision in a statement released to MMAMania:

I’ve been a ‘Killa B’ fan for years, and Ben’s given 100 percent of his heart every single time he’s stepped into the Bellator cage. After competing in three Bellator tournaments, Ben could never get to the top of that mountain, and as we continue to grow and expand I spoke to Ben and we both decided it was time to move in a different direction, so we provided Ben his complete release.

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