In MMA, there are never a shortage in rivalries. Fighters are always taking the opportunity throw that verbal jab at another fighter or promoter for that matter. Promotional Presidents have also been known to make rips on each other for competition sake.
One element of the MMA world we never probably expected to hear from, would be the match maker. Nope. Not UFC’s Joe Silva. However, World Series of Fighting matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz has now gone public for his disdain towards Bellator Fighting Championship CEO, Bjorn Rebney.
In an interview with Josh Gross on ESPN.com’s “Gross Point Blank”, Abdelaziz took some heavy shots at the Bellator brand and Rebney in regards to a few situations. Here are some of the comments:
Abdelaziz: “I really feel bad for Ben Askren right now and the things he is going through. I love the sport so much, but sometimes I get disgusted with some of the things people do. You have this guy who is the Bellator champion and then you have this jerk from Bellator, Bjork Rebney or whatever his name is. He talks bad about Ben first saying he is ‘boring’ and ‘one-dimensional’ and he is their champion. The reason he is saying that is because he already knows in his mind he is going to release him. I think its disrespectful to Ben, the guy is an Olympian, there doesn’t come a better athlete than this, and listen, he is a one-dimensional fighter but his last two fights were so exciting and the guy brings a lot to the table. He talks, has a good personality, stays active on social media and for Bellator to do that I think it was disgusting and an embarrassment for the sport to talk bad about your champion just because you know you’re going to release him.”
“They don’t put on fights anyone cares about except Alvarez vs. Chandler. Who cares about other fights? I don’t care about it as an MMA fan and listen, I watched the Alvarez vs. Chandler fight because I knew every other fight on the undercard sucked. Realistically, Bellator doesn’t have anyone that can fight Askren. We do, we have a lot more competition than they do.”
“Bjorn Rebney is just not a good guy, he’s just not. I dealt with him when I managed guys and he is just not a good guy. I think Viacom is a great platform and Spike is amazing. I think people are more excited now to watch Glory than Bellator.”
Do you think that Adbelaziz is speaking on his own behalf only? I don’t think so. I believe the WSOF matchmaker is simply saying what most of the MMA population is thinking. I’ve never spoken with Abdelaziz in regards to Bellator, however he’s nearly said everything I’ve said about Bellator word for word.
Abdelaziz has a heart for this sport and for the fighters. Even publicly wishing #1 Free Agent Ben Askren well on twitter knowing what the undefeated Champion and Olympian is going through during this time:
@Benaskren I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do with MMA or your wrestling career
— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) November 26, 2013
Gross Point Blank with ESPN.com’s Josh Gross can be seen here: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=10046352