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Thursday, May 09, 2013

No Holds Barred: Bjorn Rebney on Bellator MMA Summer Series 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney.

Bellator's eighth season, which concluded in April, and which was its first on Spike TV, was its most successful and had the most viewers in the organization's history. While another full regular season will commence in the fall, Bellator will be starting a Summer Series of monthly shows on Wednesday, June 19.

Taking place at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, and again televised live in the U.S. on Spike TV, the main event will have the unbeaten Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler defending his belt against Bellator season seven lightweight tournament winner Dave Jansen.

The June 19 event will also see the introduction of four-fighter, two-round tournaments in Bellator. Previously, all tournaments had eight competitors and three rounds.

In the first round of this tournament, which is in the light heavyweight division, "King" Mo Lawal will face Seth Petruzelli and Renato "Babalu" Sobral will fight Jacob Noe.

The four-man tournament format "just gives us the opportunity to keep guys rolling through the tournaments and get those champions title defense after title defense," said Bjorn Rebney in this interview, which was recorded by phone Thursday. "It's going to keep the ball moving. Occasionally you're going to see four-mans thrown in. You're going to see a four-man, and then you might see another four-man in the fall."

In addition, Bellator's "Fight Master" pre-recorded series also debuts on Wednesday, June 19, on Spike TV, featuring 32 welterweight fighters competing for a spot in a Bellator MMA tournament, with MMA legends Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock, and Joe Warren as coaches.

We also discussed with Bjorn Rebney how he is still running Bellator on a day-to-day basis with endless "20-hour days" even as Viacom is now majority owner of Bellator, why he will always maintain a tournament format for determining title challengers rather than using subjective matchmaking, the plans to have more women's fights in Bellator, plans to have every champion defend their belts at least three times a year, the overall status of relations with Bellator fighters, the Eddie Alvarez legal situation, and much more.

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