So I did an interview with Bellator's CEO Bjorn Rebney for the Nogueira brother's blog, Nogueira Brothers. Below is the interview in English. There are several important info's about the organization and I'm sure you'll like it.
NogueiraBrothers: You said recently Bellator is close to a TV deal in Brazil. Is it possible the deal is close before or during Season 6? Will Bellator fighters be showcased to Brazilian fans still this season?
Bjorn: We have been working very hard with our partners at Fremantle to finalize our multi-year distribution alliance in Brazil. Brazil is an incredibly important market for Bellator and Brazilian MMA fans are some of the most knowledgeable and devoted MMA fans in the world. Also, I believe that Bellator has the greatest combination of Brazilian talent in the game today, so this BB (Brazil/Bellator) TV alliance is a top, top priority for the company. I am very hopeful that we may still be able to finalize this deal by the start of Season #6.
NogueiraBrothers: Does Bellator plan to have a show in Brazil in the near future?
Bjorn: I hope we can. Brazil is a beautiful country and with soooooo many spectacularly talented Brazilian fighters at Bellator, a live event in Brazil in 2013 live on Spike in the United States is something we are working toward making a reality.
NogueiraBrothers: Most rankings have UFC fighters at the top 10 with few Bellator fighters on it. Alvarez was the #5 in the world prior to the Chandler loss and left all top 10 rankings after that. Do you think there's a mistreatment to Bellator fighters?
Bjorn: When you look at our 135, 145, 155, 170 and 185 pound divisions, you see many of the top fighters in the world. Our 205 and HW divisions are growing and will soon be very strong as well. What matters most to me is what fans think and how fans respond to our Bellator fighters.
NogueiraBrothers: Bellator is known for it's tournament format and the saying that title shots are earned, not given. Yet, due to the tournaments the champions take a long time to put their titles on the line. Will anything change on the tournament format or exceptions be made in order for the champions to be more active?
Bjorn: Yes, absolutely, we are increasing the number of tournaments that run during each season, which will provide us the ability to give our Champions world title defenses more often. For example, in Season #6, we will be running five tournaments simultaneously. Prior to Season #6, the most we had ever done was 4. And, moving into 2013, we will likely increase that number to six (6) tournaments running during each and every season.
NogueiraBrothers: Eddie Alvarez has been the star of Bellator ever since it's inception, yet now looks like he intends to leave to the UFC. He says most of the top 10 fighters are there. Do you think people and even media havin the UFC as the place for the top fighters will affect Bellator with signings or keeping fighters in the future?
Bjorn: Bellator is blessed with having many, many top fighters and many stars. Michael Chandler who just had the fight of the year with Ed, is a perfect example. Ed has a long time left with Bellator and a few more fights. We have some big plans for Ed in 2012, starting out with a potential re-match with Aoki. I’ve never heard Ed say that he is looking to go to the UFC or to any other organization. Every fighter should always realize that a fighters career is relatively short and each fighter should go where the best opportunity is for him. In some situations that will mean a great fighter will come to Bellator and in others it will mean he may go to the UFC. Each circumstances is different and each fighter is different. So, it’s hard to say what is best in a particular circumstance without looking at a particular situation.
NogueiraBrothers: Financial compensation is another big topic when people compare the UFC and Bellator. They have 5-6 digits "Of The Night" bonus, locker room bonus, and some fighters are supposed to have become millionaires. Will Bellator implement any kind of "OTN" bonus in the future? About payment structure, is Bellator similar to the UFC or is there something further away?
Bjorn: Our structure is a very unique one. At Bellator Fighters control their own destiny, there is no matchmaking and any fighter can earn $100,000 in just 90 days. Our compensation structure and format is different from the UFC’s and is more object and less subjective. We are comfortable with it and based on the spectacular signings our talent development team has secured over the last year (many of the world’s top prospects), it seems like many fighters are very comfortable with it as well.
NogueiraBrothers: One thing Bellator has done better than anyone is to find great talent and develop stars. Although the promotion doesn't have the same plataforms as the UFC, some of it's fighters are known even among casual fans. Who are the fighters that have surprised you the most in Bellator's history?
Bjorn: Many other organizations have failed trying to re-circulate fighters from other organizations. I have believed from the very first day that to build a competitive worldwide Mixed Martial Arts organization, you would have to develop your own stars and our team has done a spectacular job doing that. Many, many, many fighters come to mind on that front, McCovsky, Dantas, Vila, Chandler, both Pitbull brothers, Curran, Strauss, Warren, Askren, and the list goes on and on…..
NogueiraBrothers: The move to Spike TV will be made in 2013. Based on that, does Bellator and Spike plan to do similar programming like they had with the UFC? What kind?
Bjorn: Spike is the undisputed worldwide leader in Mixed Martial Arts programming. The move to Spike is a tremendous step forward for the Bellator brand. Spike wrote the book on MMA programming and have greater experience and expertise than anyone on earth in that area. Spike and Bellator will be developing many different shows that will launch in 2013 that focus on the fighters, the brand, the greatest moments in Bellator’s history, the stories behind the fighters and potentially even some unique form of reality programming.
NogueiraBrothers: Some Bellator fighters were featured on EA Sports's EA MMA and the UFC has recently released the 3rd edition of their game. Does Bellator have any plan to develop a game as well?
Bjorn: Developing a Bellator game that is consumer friendly, cost friendly and available worldwide has been something that has been top of mind for us for nearly a year now.