Bellator CEO ‘opens the door’ to signing available Strikeforce fighters


For the Strikeforce fighters who don't get their one-way ticket to the UFC after it closes up shop this weekend, Bjorn Rebney, CEO of Bellator, may be there with open arms to welcome them into his company's cage.

Just in case a few fighters on the Strikeforce roster don't get an invite to take their talents to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after Saturday night's (Jan. 12, 2013) Strikeforce: "Marqaurdt vs. Saffiedine" event, they might have a home with Bellator.

CEO Bjorn Rebney says while seeking fighters that have been released from other promotions isn't in his business model, preferring to create his own superstars from within, he is open to the idea of adding a select group of fighters to his roster, should they not get drafted by UFC.

But, they have to be a right fit for the organization, as was the case with former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed Lawal and former UFC contender and long-time veteran Renato Sobral.

Rebney breaks it down to MMA Weekly:

"One of my focuses when I built up the business plan was to build from within, to create our own superstars and to not be like the EliteXCs and the IFLs and the Bodogs and the Afflictions and all of these different groups who tried to grab the fighters that had been released by the UFC and ultimately try to re-ignite a fire that had once existed under those guys. I think that's one of the things that set us apart. That's going to stay our focus, but look at King Mo Lawal, when a guy like that becomes available and we are able to get into a bidding war and ultimately win on a guy like King Mo, and do a deal like we did with Dixie Carter (from TNA wrestling), that's a no brainer."

The pickings will be slim once the head honchos at UFC are done deciding who get a pass into the Octagon, however, Rebney is confident there will be one or two fighters who deserve a shot:

"The door is open to it, but there's never like a lock in on it and say ‘Hey, we're going to do that for sure.' You look at it on a case by case basis, you see where a guy fits in and if he's got the right fit for the organization, and if so there aren't any handcuffs on us doing something like that. You could see it. As Strikeforce disbands, as a lot of us have known and thought was going to happen for a long time, we'll see what happens and we'll see who's available."

Now that Bellator will arguably be the number two mixed martial arts (MMA) organization in the world, bolstering up its stable of fighters isn't such a bad idea.

Especially after losing its middleweight champ Hector Lombard to UFC and are on the verge of losing its top star in former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez after the promotion filed a lawsuit against him due to contractual differences last week.

But, when it's all said and done, will there be much quality talent left for Bellator to rummage through?

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