Thursday, June 23, 2011

Word on the Street: Zuffa Working Bellator, MFC Purchases???

I have sworn to keep my sources undisclosed until the appropriate time. Scouts honor, pinky swear, my name signed in blood...

"I cannot tell a lie" were words uttered by our honored forefather, George Washington. I hold to that virtue tonight as I reveal highly sensitive information to the blogosphere. The information has been passed on to me from one source who shall remain anonymous. This individual received word from two other separate, anoymous, but reliable sources that Zuffa LLC is doing the 'business as usual thing' once again, looking to purchase Bellator and the Maximum Fighting Championships.

I know it sounds like a town rumor -- he told the barber, the barber told, the baker, the baker told the butcher... No, but really, just keep reading...

There have been one or two whispers about this over the past week on The Underground message boards, but nothing that has sparked any substantial discussion. Additionally, nothing has been confirmed or officially reported by The Underground or any other media outlet for that matter.

Thursday afternoon, MFC president and owner Mark Pavelich posted the following short, but eyebrow raising message to his Facebook account:

"MFC FOR SALE 3.2 Million"

Upon reading Pav's Facebook entry, I was prompted to hit the phones and dig deeper. My investigative reporting instincts lead me to one informed individual who, for now, will remain nameless. According to my source, the gist of the situation is that Zuffa personnel have been sifting through Bellator and MFC contracts in preparation for purchases.

Now, I've been covering the MFC for quite some time now, and I haven't bit my tongue when it comes to criticizing the MFC's management. Long story short, the MFC's business decisions have been hindering the promotion from advancing. There's also a promotional war going on in Edmonton between the MFC, Aggression MMA and Armageddon MMA. Aggression and Armageddon have formed a pact to work together. Word on the street is, the two promotions have teamed up to oust the MFC. Bottom line: the MFC needs help. They have a decent fight roster, but poor management is their downfall. What better time for a Zuffa check, signed by Lou Fertita himself?

As for Bellator, the tournament-based promotion is Zuffa's primary competition. They are the other promotion aired on a Viacom television network. If Zuffa decides to leave Spike, then its fair to assume that Bellator will fill the UFC's old time slots, giving them an easy ratings boost. What better way to eliminate the competition, once again?

Funny though, both Mark Pavelich and Bjorn Rebney were anti-Zuffa hardliners following their purchase of Strikeforce in March. Here's what they had to say some months ago:

Mark Pavelich denied the possibility of a Zuffa buyout on the MFC's website:
"People ask when they UFC are coming to buy us. Listen – I don’t want to sell the Maximum Fighting Championship. I’ve got it tattooed on my guts. That’s the difference between me and everybody else. Scott Coker is a super nice guy, but you could see he had a lack of passion for MMA when he spoke. He’s a good guy. He’s a great guy, but when we’re talking about mixed martial arts, it’s a different story – he doesn’t have what I have….he never will. It’s engrained in me. It’s not engrained in him. After the heavyweight debacle, the makeup of the organization started to change. Did Coker do a great job for a long time? I thought he did, but he still lacked passion and he lacked drive."
When asked about the possibility of Zuffa "buying out" Bellator, Bjorn Rebney told MMAJunkie:
"No... My answer to that is based on our entire philosophy. It's one where fighters control their own destiny. The organization that puts the cage down and puts up the lights, and puts all the cameras together and puts on the show on MTV, has the same exact philosophy of the fighters who step into the cage.

"I am a big fan of controlling one's own destiny. It's what got me to this point. ... It's that type of control of controlling your destiny that is everything our organization is about. It's our very, very core."

We'll see how long Mark Pavelich and Bjorn Rebney can deny that fat check with zero's running off the page!

More updates as they come...

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