If Bellator Fighting Championships is trying to co-promote a show with Strikeforce, their CEO Bjorn Rebney is going about it all the wrong ways. At least according to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, who talked about the text messages that Rebney recently released to the press saying he’s tried to get in touch with Coker several times to set up a co-promoted super show.
The messages indicated that Rebney had been texting Coker at a frequent rate to try to set up fights between Bellator and Strikeforce champions. Speaking to MMAWeekly Radio on Monday night, Coker first pointed out that Rebney was simply texting the wrong number to begin with.
“The reality is he doesn’t have my right number,” Coker said. “The number that he’s texting is not the number I’m using. He must have an old phone number.”
Regardless of the misplaced text messages or not, Coker was not excited to see Rebney’s tack in releasing the messages to the press in some sort of half-handed way of gaining notoriety for the attempted negotiations.
“My thing with Bjorn is if you want to just keep driving through the PR mode that you are to gain or to keep your league in the headlines, that’s fine. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. But if you’re really looking to make something happen then he should sit down with me face to face. I feel like this whole texting thing, I feel like I was in high school again. It just seems childish to me,” Coker stated.
“That’s not how you do business. That’s now how we’re going to do business, I can tell you that.”
The methods that Rebney has employed may have cost his fighters the chance to face the best of the best in Strikeforce. Coker points out that Strikeforce’s record of working with other promotions is clear as day, and why he’d deny a meeting with Bellator is beyond him.
“We’ve put on some big fights, we’ve done some mega events here, and we don’t conduct business like that. We’re not going to be engaged in that kind of silliness,” Coker said.
“We’ve co-promoted with EliteXC before we bought them, we’ve co-promoted with M-1, we’ve had Fedor fight Brett Rogers and against Fabricio Werdum. We’ve co-promoted with Dream and doing fighter sharing with Dream. We brought (Shinya) Aoki here as well as letting Nick Diaz go fight (Hayato) Sakurai there, so that’s not an issue.”
Coker’s facts are true when it comes to Strikeforce’s willingness over the past several years to co-promote with other brands. The San Jose, Calif., based show has actually co-promoted with more organizations than virtually any other major brand in MMA history.
At the end of the day, Coker is focused on the business he can control, which is the Strikeforce fights coming up in November and December. While he doesn’t shut the door on ever co-promoting with Bellator, it certainly sounds like Rebney may have shot himself in the foot with the latest attempt to put together a show with Strikeforce.
“On the other side it’s never been about trying to get PR from the other side trying to basically attack us. He’s definitely, I think, he’s put in a situation where maybe these fights will be tough to put together because of their business style,” said Coker in closing.
For now Bellator will look to continue their upcoming tournaments, while Strikeforce will focus on its Challengers 12 in November and the Dec. 4 Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu II fight card featuring Dan Henderson rematching Renato “Babalu” Sobral.