- It's no secret that Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney does not get along with UFC president Dana White. The two have gone back and forth in the media several times over various subjects, the latest being White's harsh words for MMA legend Georges St-Pierre. St-Pierre publicly indicted the promotion over issues surrounding drug testing and White responded by essentially belittling the longtime welterweight champ. Rebney recently said during a teleconference, transcribed by MMAJunkie, that he finds White's latest offense to be among the worst ever made by the brash UFC boss.
"The UFC set the bar pretty high in terms of tasteless comments, but their recent comments about GSP are probably, in my mind, the most tasteless comments they've made in sometime," he said.
Rebney lauded the French-Canadian with praise and made it clear that he sees GSP as one of the few basically unimpeachable characters in the sport - one who's undeserving of the criticism levied by White.
"I look at GSP as a guy who's one of the greatest, most honorable champions our sport has ever seen, and in my opinion, I don't think GSP owes us, as fans, anything, and I don't think GSP owes the UFC anything," Rebney said. "As we saw based on the fallout from the last fight, he's given us, as fans and for the organization that he fought for, he's given us everything. I think we should all be thankful we had the opportunity to watch a guy like that fight over the past 10 years.
"It's been our pleasure as MMA fans, and I think a lot of the issues he raises and points he makes are good points. He's been de-facto ambassador for our game and a spokesman for the sport at a very high level for a long time, and I put a lot of credence and credibility in what he's talking about."
White has yet to fire back at Rebney, but given his proclivity for engaging in public feuds, it's likely only a matter of time before he does.
- In other Bellator news, the promotion has again set in motion plans to hold their first pay-per-view event, which is expected to feature the highly anticipated rubber match between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler.
"It'll be a pay-per-view event; we haven't finalized the date yet, but it'll be incredible," Rebney said earlier this week. "The first fight they had was the best fight I'd ever seen live. The second fight was one of the best fights I've ever seen. Sometimes, guys just match up stylistically and they can't help but give you pure magic when they get in the cage. These guys are that."
Bellator had recently planned a pay-per-view for November that would feature Alvarez-Chandler 2, as well as a fight between Tito Ortiz and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson; when Ortiz was forced out of the bout, the event was downgraded to a regular live TV event.
- Finally, in announcing the start of their tenth season, Bellator revealed that TNA stars and longtime rivals Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal will be on opposite sides of the light heavyweight tournament bracket. Jackson is initially matched up against Christian M'Pumbu, while Lawal will square off with Mikhail Zayats; the bouts will take place on February 28.
Rampage, who is coming off of a first-round TKO of Joey Beltran, is excited to fight in the tournament and eventually get the belt - regardless of who emerges from the other side as the victor.
"This is what Bellator is all about," Rampage said. "I've never felt better, and now it's about getting the belt. Bellator is all about the tournaments, and if that's what you need to do to get that belt, that's what I'm going to do. M'Pumbu is up first, and when I finish him, it's King Mo or Zayats, and then it's onto the belt, simple as that."
Lawal enters the tournament coming off of a decision loss to current Bellator interim champ Emanuel Newton and is more driven than ever to claim the title.
"I'm not going to sit here and say I'm changing up my whole game plan, and you are going to see a new fighter," said Lawal. "That's just not me. I know what I do, I know who I am, and that's who you are going to see on February 28th, plain and simple. Me. It's all about getting that belt."
The event will also feature the start of the tenth season featherweight tournament.
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