Bjorn Rebney Speaks on Tito Ortiz’s Future in Bellator and Fighting
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 11.03.2013
“Who are we to tell Tito Ortiz when he can and cannot stop fighting?”
Speaking to reporters following Bellator 106, Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney spoke about sticking with Tito Ortiz, despite his recent injury causing Bellator to call off their first PPV event. Below are some highlights.
Rebney on if he's worried about the future with Ortiz: "Sure, I'm worried about it. But it's Tito, and I've known him for a long time, and I made a commitment to him that we would try to give it another run. This went s--tty, and the assumption is he'll heal and we'll give it a run. He's had injuries, but he hasn't made a career of pulling out of fights. He's as disappointed as anybody, but if he heals as anticipated, we'll schedule another fight."
Rebney on the conspiracy theories surrounding the legitimacy of Ortiz's injury: "I could give you ridiculous smart-ass answer after smart-ass answer about the other guy on the grassy knoll, and Oliver Stone having a hand in it. It's ridiculous. I actually have real X-rays from Tito's real neck that showed it wasn't fractured before and it is now."
Rebney on not being ready to say Ortiz's fight career is over: "Who are we to tell Tito Ortiz when he can and cannot stop fighting? He had a fracture in his neck. I spoke to a top-level specialist who did the neck surgery on Tito. The reason he couldn't fight is because it was fractured, and if he got dropped on his head the right way, it could splinter and go into his spinal cord and paralyze him. But it's a fracture like a broken arm. Once it heals, there's no more likelihood that it might fracture into your spinal cord than you or I. So when he gets well, if he wants to fight, we'll figure it out and make it work."
Rebney on being happy with Bellator 106 being available on free TV: "I think the thing I'm most thankful for is that so many people got to watch this fight for free on TV, and it speaks to how awesome the first one was. I think the shining light off this is however many people would have watched it if it had been the co-main on a pay-per-view, this was open to everybody. Hopefully, the numbers were big and people on the East Coast stayed up to watch it because they didn't go into the cage until, like, 12:01 a.m. (ET), or something like that. The plan was we were going to get clean at 25 before the end of the hour, and Mike and Ed would go in and finish out the hour strong, and by midnight, we'd be clean because [viewers] drop off like crazy after midnight. So we'll see what the numbers are, but people are going to watch it. We're going to run it again and again."