The following are highlights of a recent interview with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney:
Touching on the King Mo and Rampage feud; many have said that that the after fight dust up was entirely scripted. Did Bellator have any involvement in producing this scene? “That is completely and utterly ridiculous. What we did is we talked to Mike Masooley who is one of the commissioners from the Mohegan Sun. We told him that after the fight if Rampage did indeed win, we are going to bring King Mo in and just to be aware of the situation. We did have security but we just wanted to make sure everybody knew what could happen and understand what could evolve. Mike understood and that was literally it.”
Last year King Mo and Rampage allegedly, squashed their so called “beef”. But now both of them now in the same tournament it seems that whole peace conversation has been pushed to the waste side. Is this hate more of pushing Bellator or is this anger and hostility very real? “Both of the guys really do hate each other. They hated each other for 2 years and I had to ask them to squash their squabble at least publicly. When TNA signed them I had to do that because they would be working together in a TNA ring. They squashed it for a short period of time, but now it’s resurfaced. The only reason they became civil with each other because I asked them to in favor of TNA and Dixie Carter.”
When they first signed with TNA Impact, there was a lot of attention of how they would transition from MMA to Sports Entertainment. What is the current relationship between Bellator and TNA and could we see more fighters enter the ring? “Dixie and I talk pretty regularly. Now that Rampage’s fight is over and didn’t get injured, we are going to really rev up the wrestling training. We have coaches and trainers traveling to Southern California to help him get through the process of becoming a well-rounded professional wrestler. The essence of what wrestling is, that it’s a real skill and you have to learn the craft. We hope he adapt to it quickly and after the May fight, Rampage will be doing full blown matches.”
Bellator and TNA have been doing plenty of cross promotion over the last year. Does it ever worry you that King Mo and Rampage could be injured in the wrestling ring and in turn make it difficult for you to put cards together? “I mean I think about it but the reality is this: Guys like Rampage and Mo, they are world class athletes. If they aren’t doing TNA Impact they are training MMA. They aren’t going to be sitting on the lazy boy watching COPS, they will always be active. The power of the Impact TV show is amazing. Both want to do it and it’s a risk you have to assume and take. These are athletes that takes risks and at times they will get injured.”
Check out the complete interview at MMASucka.com.