UFC president Dana white couldn’t resist taking a pop at his rival, Bellator promotor Bjorn Rebney after the promotion’s biggest event resulted in defeat for a number of the their biggest stars.
It had already been a tough week for Rebney with ‘Bellator 106’ initially having to be downgraded from pay-per-view to free-TV after the cancelation of the main event between Tito Ortiz and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson due to injury, but nonetheless there was still considerable interest on last night’s show on Spike TV.
The upsets came thick and fast on the main card though. Firstly, featherweight champion Pat Curran saw his six-fight unbeaten run snapped by Daniel Straus.
Next up, Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal had been handed a golden opportunity to both gain revenge over Emanual Newton for a KO loss earlier this year and claim the interim 205lb title, but he failed to grab it with both hands and lost by unanimous decision.
The biggest blow for Bellator though came in the main event when Eddie Alvarez produced a big upset by defeating long-time champion Michael Chandler to reclaim his lightweight title.
What made the win so significant was that Bellator had been embroiled in a bitter legal dispute with Alvarez for much of the past year in order to prevent him signing a lucrative deal with the UFC.
Naturally then, Dana White couldn’t wait to rub Bellator CEO Rebney’s nose in it after Alvarez threw a spanner in the works last night.
“I’m hearing Djork oops Bjork got served a big fat plate of Karma tonight :) Congrats Eddie!!” White wrote on Twitter after the main event.
Rebney was briefly captured on camera shaking his head in apparent disbelief at the result as Alvarez was declared the new champion, but later he categorically denied that he was upset by the way things had panned out.
“I don’t know what karma is,” Rebney said backstage after being asked about White’s comment. “If karma is that we just put on the best mixed martial arts fight I’ve ever seen, that’s karma I’ll take big boatloads of.”
Rebney was riled up enough by the remark that he also took a rare opportunity to return fire at White who had recently claimed that the Bellator promotion, “has no value.”
“You know what, I’ve kind of picked my spots where I thought it was necessary to respond,” Rebney told reporters. “Some of his valuation comments were ridiculous given that his partner [FOX] paid us tens of millions of dollar for our rights in America and some of the other things.”
All in all it was definitely a tough night for Bellator. Chandler and Curran were two of their biggest homegrown stars, with Alvarez being the third – but the bad blood between him and the promotion makes things awkward for them going forward. Meanwhile, former Strikeforce champ ‘King Mo’ looked like he could be a big star for the promotion and inject some much needed personality and charisma into their ranks, but his inability to make an impact in the cage has resulted in his stock dropping to a new low.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Bellator though. Rebney’s right – Chandler Vs Alvarez II was a great fight and everyone who watched it is now clamouring for a rubber match between them.
Also, regardless of the results, there was a lot of attention on last night’s show and that could potentially mean they are on course to deliver their biggest ratings yet on Spike TV which would undoubtedly be a big boost for them.