Bjorn Rebney does not rule out four man tournaments happening in the future

Earlier this week, Bellator MMA announced that the upcoming Summer Series would have three-four man tournaments in the bantamweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions.

Daniel Dahlback - The MMA Report
Daniel Dahlback – The MMA Report

Fighters that are placed into the Summer Series tournaments will have to win two fights in a three month time period to earn their shot at a Bellator title.

In the past, fighters in the Bellator tournaments have had to win three fights in a three month period.

Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney believes that the tournaments that will take place in the upcoming Summer Series will serve it’s purpose which is to create more title fights for the company and he does not rule out doing more four man tournaments in the future.

“I think what it does is to serve the purpose that it allows us to get more challengers as earning the right to fight our world champions in a shorter time frame,” Rebney told “What that allows us to do is more world title fight, which is what we have always wanted to do and it doesn’t mean that we won’t do additional four man tournaments at some point either during the regular seasons and or during the Summer Series. It gives us an opportunity to fulfill my goal of stacking the deck for our champions to fight three times at minimum per year and potentially even more.”

Could a four man tournament also be in the works for season nine, which begins in the fall? Rebney has not given a lot of consideration of doing this, but admitted that they are looking into it.

“We have not given a lot of consideration to doing more four mans in the fall. We are looking at it and we might do one four man during one of our regular seasons just to complement it and sure we can keep everyone very busy. We don’t have the flexibility on just making fights with whomever we want to make them with. Our structure is different.”

Bellator currently has world champions in six divisions ranging from bantamweight to heavyweight. Rebney has said over the previous months that his goal is to have his champions fight at least three times a year.

By doing the four man tournaments in Summer Series, this allows them to add more title contenders. If they did an eight man tournament in the Summer Series, they would have only been able to do one tournament.

Since Bellator started, the format of the organization has been eight man tournaments and Rebney believes that this is still the cornerstone of the company he founded.

“Our format is set up in a way that it facilitates the eight man tournament, three fights over ninety days. I think that is going to be the cornerstone to what we are doing, but it doesn’t mean we can’t throw in a four man tournament at any of our weight classes.”

“One of the most difficult tasks that Sam [Caplan] and I and Zach [Light] and the talent development team have is right now looking through the list of fighters we have fighting for this company at 145, 170 and 155 and trying figure out who we can possibly exclude from the upcoming season nine tournaments of the eight man. Right now we are looking at guys that are number 12 on the list, number 14 on the list and you are thinking, how do we not include him? Because there is such good quality fighters that have great followings and can really deliver inside the cage. One of the ways that we can help with that is you can do an eight man and in some of those situations maybe we consider doing a four man as well or maybe we consider doing a four man as a complement to it, much like we are doing here at 205. We are coming out of a 205 tournament and we are going to get right back into another 205 tournament.”

The four man tournaments could end up being a success for Bellator. If the fans of Bellator enjoy the four man tournaments, they could return in the fall. Rebney and his team will have to see how it works and four man tournaments could continue if it means getting his champions into more title defenses.

“In the fall, there may be another one and then as we are coming into the next season after that, there may one or two additional four mans. We have to see how it works and see where the need is to be able to continue to load the barrel so that the champions get three title defenses minimum per year and we can keep delivering title fights after title fight.”

The only fighter that has been confirmed to be in an upcoming tournament in Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. He will enter his second Bellator light heavyweight tournament as he was eliminated from the season eight tournament in the semifinals by eventual tournament winner Emanuel Newton.

There have been rumors that Lawal will face former Bellator light heavyweight champion Christian M’Pumbu in the opening round of the Summer Series light heavyweight tournament, but that is just a rumor since none of the matchups in the tournaments have been decided.

“Nothing has been decided yet. We don’t have the matchups set yet. We got a lot of different options. Look at what we got right now at 205. We got a lot of different options. There are a lot of guys that came out and preformed very well in the most recent tournament. There are guys that we have not uses. M’Pumbu just lost the world title. Babalu got shocked in the first round by [Mikhail] Zayats. Seth [Petruzelli] was out in the first round because of a knee injury. There is a lot of different scenarios.”

The Bellator 2013 Summer Series is expected to begin in June with the other two shows coming in July and August. The organization has not officially announced the dates and venues at this time and an announcement on this should be coming in the near future.