Rebney explains calling Ortiz-Shlemenko a ‘cirque du soleil-esque’ fight: ‘You have so few opportunities to make something really weird happen’

USA TODAY Sports

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney spoke with members of the media following the Bellator 119 event in Ontario, where he explained his reasoning behind calling next week’s Ortiz-Shlemenko feature fight a ‘cirque du soleil-esque’ type of fight.

Although Bjorn Rebney is taking the upcoming Tito Ortiz vs Alexander Shlemenko match-up "viciously serious," he has no problem calling it a "freak show" fight.

The Bellator CEO had recently stated that there will likely be a 30-35 pound weight disparity between the two competitors come fight night, as Shlemenko walks around at 190-91 pounds while Tito is closer to 220 pounds. This led him to admit that the match-up was a sort of ‘cirque du soleil-esque' fight.

Rebney did not intend for his comments to be taken as a sign of his lack of care towards the match-up or the fighters involved, but rather as a token of his excitement towards a bout that he considers both unique and "odd."

"I take the fight viciously serious," Rebney told media members at the post-fight media scrum. "I take it very seriously. I just think that, in our organization with our structure, you have so few opportunities to make something really weird happen. We don't. We set up a tournament, Daniel Weichel comes in and he cleans out three guys. You set up another tournament, guys come out and they clean up three guys, Or Will Brooks wins the tournament. Our structure is very much methodical and objective, much like basketball or hockey or anything else that you watch.

"So to be able to create a fight like this between a reigning middleweight champ who is really small, who actually probably be fighting at welterweight if he was in the U.S. If he was in the U.S, Shlemenko is a welterweight no question about it. He walks around at 192[lb], he cuts six-and-a-half pounds to make weight. Now to put him in against a guy who is a 205er and has been known his entire career as being one of the biggest 205 pounders in the sport, you can argue to and fro whether Titio's best years are behind him or whether he is going to ever regain that level of greatness or not - that is all up for grabs. The thing that makes it a freak show is the weight disparity and the size disparity. I have no idea who wins this fight. Tito could come out, push the fight against the fence, take Shlemenko's back and tap him out, like a man against a boy. Or Shlemenko could stuff takedowns and use that sniper striking, gets a liver shot - who knows."

Rebney is excited at the opportunity to put on a fight that he is truly clueless regarding the potential outcome. He believes the disparity between the two fighters leaves an endless well of possibilities, which adds to the intrigue of the match-up.

"I go into most fights with a vision of what could happen. I have a vision of what will happen in [King]Mo vs. ‘Rampage,' I have a vision in Eddie [Alvarez] vs Mike [Chandler] too.  I have no idea what is going to happen in that fight because it is such a freak show. It could be completely one sided in one direction, or completely in the other direction. Who knows? That is why I think it is kind of a weird cirque-du-soleil-esque fight and we never get to make them"

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