Bjorn Rebney, founder and chairman of Bellator MMA, as well as President and COO Tim Danaher, will be parting ways with the company, effective immediately. Spike TV made the announcement in a press release Wednesday morning.
Rebney released the following statement regarding his departure from the company he founded back in 2007.
“It is with bittersweet emotions that I announce that I am leaving the company I founded. I have great pride in having turned my vision into reality, a thriving business with television distribution to over 140 countries around the world, a partnership with one of the world’s largest entertainment giants and wide array of sponsors, partners and strategic allies all over the globe. This has been a wonderful eight plus years of creation, development and success. I will miss the courageous, strong and dedicated fighters I have had the pleasure of promoting, and equally, I will miss the incredibly hard working, remarkable team that has become a family for me over the years. Viacom and Tim and I differed in our views of the right strategic direction for Bellator, but Tim and I both wish them well,”
“I feel very privileged and honored to have been one of the guiding forces for developing Bellator into the largest MMA tournament based organization in the world. I’ve made tremendous life-long friends and feel blessed to have worked with such talented and dedicated people.”
According to Rebney, it took three mortgages on his house to launch Bellator seven years ago. However, it wasn’t until Plainfield Asset Management decided to invest “in the mid-tens of millions” that Rebney’s dream of running a MMA promotion became a reality.
The first event was held on April 13 after the promotion reached a broadcasting deal with ESPN Deportes. They would eventually move to Fox Sports Net, MTV2 and then finally Spike TV after Viacom bought a controlling interest in the company in 2011.
To date, Bellator has hosted 121 events, including Bellator 120, the promotion’s first pay-per-view last month.
“I would like to thank Bjorn and Tim on behalf of Spike and Viacom for their dedication and hard work building Bellator from the ground up,” said Spike TV President Kevin Kay. “They worked tirelessly in getting Bellator to where it is today. They were great partners to work with and we wish them all the best.”
While the Spike TV did not mention who would be replacing Rebney, reports are indicating they are leaning towards former Strikeforce CEO and founder Scott Coker.