Perhaps it’s more difficult to keep things under wraps in MMA than some people think.
After Monday’s announcement that Georges St Pierre, TJ Dillashaw and others were to reveal an “industry redefining“ announcement, all early guesses seemed to indicate the possibility of a fighter’s association of some sort being formed. Since no information is to be revealed until the formal announcement on Wednesday afternoon, this was not something that could have been completely confirmed. The most puzzling inclusion was that of former Bellator CEO and Chairman Bjorn Rebney, and his role in this entire situation seemed to have been the biggest question of all.
However, that all seems to have taken a turn. In a report by Kevin Draper from Deadspin on Tuesday, it was revealed that various domain names for an “MMA athletes association”. The domains mmaathletesassociation.info, mmaathletesassociation.net, and mmaathletesassociation.org are all registered under Rebney as confirmed under ViewDNS.info.
As per the source:
Bjorn Rebney also owns the domains mmaaassociation.com and themmaaa.com, according to a more complete WHOIS lookup.
Upon attempting to access themmaaa.com, visitors are greeted by a login request as well as the item below:
This appears to be the logo of the MMA Athletes Association: https://t.co/FJVTWq8vur pic.twitter.com/ghwC7QOcg4— Deadspin (@Deadspin) November 30, 2016
The aforementioned conference call will also reportedly include current UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy, former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and former UFC lightweight title challenger and current UFC welterweight contender Donald Cerrone.
Rebney parted ways with Bellator back in 2014, and has done no media appearances or interviews since. The most intriguing thing about all of this is that there would be an “athlete’s association” that would include him in what would likely be an administrative capacity. Rebney was able to turn Bellator from the little promotion that could into the solid #2 MMA organization on the planet in just a few years, but he had a tenure that was rife with controversy.
A series of contractual and legal disputes with fighters led to general fan unpopularity as well, and his departure from the company was met with relief from some fighters and fans as well as applause from others. It will be interesting to see what exactly his role is going to be as well as the manner in which this affects the public relations aspect of it all.
For the time being, it appears that he’s going to be the person in charge. We’ll all be waiting for that conference call to find out how all of these pieces come together.