In the past 4 years Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney has transformed a simple idea into the second largest MMA organization in the world. In an age where UFC was buying out every other org from Pride to the WFA, Bellator was making waves, even in its startup stage.

What started off as somewhat of an island for misfit toys quickly became a home for some of the world’s top ranked fighters. With their unique tournament style matchups Bjorn created a format that made each fighter earn their fame and title shot. Names like Alexander Schlemenko, Pat Curran, Brian Rogers and others have become blips on the International MMA radar while guys like Hector Lombard and Eddie Alvarez have become major draws attracting the attention of every MMA org. Sure Alvarez was already one of the Top 5 lightweights in the world but unless you were in Japan or a diehard mma fan in the states you probably never heard of him. Though he lost his title last November to Michael Chandler in what many consider 2011’s fight of the year he quickly wiped away any doubts by throttling Japanese jiujitsu sensation, Shinya Aoki in late April. During his post fight interview Alvarez was screaming for Rebney to show him the money. After that the question on every fan’s mind isn’t if Bjorn will show him the money but whether or not he will match the dollar signs on the contract UFC will undoubtedly be approaching Eddie with now that his current contract with Bellator is up.

Hector Lombard on the other hand has been a walking MW wrecking machine, destroying everyone in his path. With a 31-2 record and 17 k.o’s racked up, the Cuban born, American Top team judoka has been at the top of everyone’s Middleweight rankings right behind UFC’s champ, Anderson Silva.

Hector Lombard joined Bellator in June 2009 and after winning the first Middleweight tournament to become the first and only Champion in that weight class and the longest reigning champ in the company’s history. With credentials such as these it is clear to see why UFC came knocking and on April 24th of this year he signed a contract with the MMA super force.

With Bellator’s ever growing fan base fans eagerly await the next season and all it will bring. Will Eddie jump ship and go to the world’s biggest stage? Will Bjorn Rebney smile and willingly let fighters leave his company knowing that if they find success in the UFC it just says something about his stable? Or will he create stronger clauses that prevent fighters from leaving while they are champs. Time will tell but I am certain with the tournament style and all the fighters on the roster, Bellator will continue to grow and we will all be tuning in every Friday night.

Rocky Selassie