Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has been removed by Viacom effective immediately, and today issued a statement on his "bittersweet" departure after eight years at the helm.
"It is with bittersweet emotions that I announce that I am leaving the company I founded. I have great pride in having turned my vision into reality, a thriving business with television distribution to over 140 countries around the world, a partnership with one of the world's largest entertainment giants and wide array of sponsors, partners and strategic allies all over the globe. This has been a wonderful eight plus years of creation, development and success. I will miss the courageous, strong and dedicated fighters I have had the pleasure of promoting, and equally, I will miss the incredibly hard working, remarkable team that has become a family for me over the years. Viacom and Tim and I differed in our views of the right strategic direction for Bellator, but Tim and I both wish them well."
Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Rebney would be replaced by former Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker; however, that announcement has not been made official at this time.
From Spike TV President Kevin Kay:
"I would like to thank Bjorn and Tim on behalf of Spike and Viacom for their dedication and hard work building Bellator from the ground up. They worked tirelessly in getting Bellator to where it is today. They were great partners to work with and we wish them all the best."
Bellator recently finalized its next fight card, Bellator 122, for the Pechanga Resort & Casino on July 25, 2014, in Temecula, California, live on Spike TV (more on that here). Expect an official announcement on any and all pending staff changes to occur well before then.