Well, then. I make my triumphant return to writing last week, thinking that I’m going to thoroughly tackle things I found important on the MMA landscape, and then things went Bizarro World on me. Happy trails, Bjorn Rebney! Hello Japan, Scott Coker! Mike Kogan!! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria! WELL, THEN!
(I’m going to continue to do these bullet point style, and I figure choosing three prominent topics per piece seems appropriate. I’ll try to limit myself.)
"This nigga needs to make up his mind. Or more like stick to his guns and stop flip-flopping." – Mike Kogan (referring to featherweight champ Jose Aldo’s money gripes)
I’m not bringing this statement (and subsequent story) up to drag Mike Kogan’s name through the mud, or to get up on my soapbox and scream about racism and ignorance. Rather, I’m going to use it as a setup for an old-timey joke, followed by an example of a problem I have with many white people.
First off, Mike … you already said he needed to make up his mind. "Stick to your guns" and "stop flip flopping" was unnecessary to add. If you need to find Mike Kogan, you can reach him at the Department of Redundancy Department … of Redundancy.
Second, I almost always hate being in the room whenever a white person says "nigga". It’s usually uttered by the types of awesome dudes who "know black people" through hip hop, movies, and other stuff they saw on TV while they were pondering what desperate persona to adopt. But, even worse is when a white guy drops it into a room with an unsuspecting black guy, with zero self awareness. I had this happen to me recently, and it hung in the air like a Dirk Nowitzki three pointer. Look, here’s the thing … I don’t find it offensive in a "This guy is a racist!" kind of way. It’s more like the George Carlin bit about white guys wearing their hats backwards … "You’re never gonna be as cool as the black guys. You’re white … and you’re lame."
(This isn’t to say that that certain white people don’t have an inexplicable license to say it. I have a close friend who says it quite a bit, and it’s never awkward or forced. Some people are like that. This dynamic muddles and confuses an already loaded topic. But you know it when you hear it.)
Also, a white guy throwing it out there with the dreaded "E-R" at the end (ESPECIALLY if you don’t know him) isn’t just a bummer for black people to hear, but it also sucks for white people who could potentially be lumped into the same category as this dumb racist jackoff who uttered it, just because he has the same color skin. It’s almost like he’s challenging you. Like, "You cool, man?" If you let it slide, then you must be cool with it. If you address it for what it is (outdated and stupid), then you’re forced to shit on the guy who said it. Which is fine, but it’s just not a situation you want to be forced to deal with. It’s like a guy walked into your life and just randomly pulled his cock out. How rude.
So simmer down, Mike Kogan. You’re white … and you’re lame. To make it worse, you’re a semi-public figure who tried to get overly bro-ey on his semi-public Instagram account. Just no need for it at all.
Even though Bjorn Rebney has obvious flaws as a fight promoter, I’m going to miss having him at the forefront of Bellator discussion.
I’m going to miss the way he called Eddie Alvarez "Ed". I’m going to miss the classy, biting way he dealt with Dana White throwing poop at him in regards to various subjects. I’m going to miss the way he would make absolutely OUTRAGEOUS statements as though they were obvious truths (and then have you believe it anyway).
"This Alexander Volkov kid, I’m telling you, he’s going to be a pound for pound great. Guys like him are why having a heavyweight division is a necessity for Bellator."
He certainly made his fair share of mistakes, like openly lying about gate attendances (among other things) to assembled media, putting an emphasis on signing washed up stars, and refusing to budge when it came to the tournament model … but this must be said: Bjorn Rebney went to war for his company. Through thick and thin, he was a Bellator guy. Even though something deep inside of my soul knew he had to be completely full of shit … I liked him. I admired him. The way he carried himself, the way he gave interviews, the A-level spin control tactics when things went sour, the fervor with which he promoted his product. He was the only promoter I would go out of my way to listen to on an interview.
He was also at this Bellator thing for quite awhile, making adjustments where they were needed and developing quite a bit of good young talent. I went to Bellator 100 in Phoenix, and Bjorn never stopped moving, never stopped shaking hands, never stopped being the Magic Man. Apparently he was a bit of a hardass control freak type behind the scenes, the kind of guy who stubbornly stuck to his guns even though pretty much everyone he worked with disagreed with his direction for the company (i.e. steadfastly committing to tournaments even though this is 2014 and we’ve figured out time and time again that they don’t generally work, for a plethora of reasons). He’s definitely full of himself, and not in the Dana White "bleep everybody who doesn’t agree with me, they can all go bleep themselves in the expletive deleted" kind of way. With Bjorn, it was more like "I’m Bjorn Rebney. People like me, because I’m kind of a big deal. And you should, too."
Don’t believe me?
Holy smokestacks! Imagine walking into a room full of executives and pitching them that promo. And keeping a straight face the entire time. Now he can go start Combate Thackerville or something. We hardly knew ye.
Scott Coker takes the helm for Bellator Fighting Championships. You can probably guess some of the things that will happen next.
1. He will be vague and apathetically evasive with the media, but he should have that problem cleared up in a week or two. He’ll be sure to let us know when he does.
2. He will play whatever kind of ball Spike execs want him to play. I loved the comment Dana White made this week, when he called Coker a "much better fit" for Bellator. Wait, you’re saying the guy you effortlessly strong armed into signing away his promotion (and the guy who you will possibly replay that exact scenario in the future with) is a better fit than the guy who actually seemed to care? I can’t believe it! That’s crazy talk.
3. At some point (or maybe at EVERY point), there will be a shot of Scott Coker in the crowd at some random Bellator event (probably in Council Bluffs, Iowa) looking like he wants to kill himself right then and there. 3 weeks later, the UFC will give him another ludicrous sum of money to go kick it in the Caribbean for a couple of years, right up until they need to set up the demise of another MMA promotion. At least then, we’ll finally get to see what it looks like when James Thompson straps on UFC gloves.