Light heavyweight Quinton Jackson and heavyweight Josh Barnett are former champions who know how to entertain outside of the cage and also happen to be on the verge of availability, as personal differences with the UFC are likely to prevent either man from competing inside the Octagon anytime soon. As such, a logical landing spot for both would be Bellator considering the company’s current trajectory, need for stars, and backing from Viacom.
Though CEO Bjorn Rebney recently explained he is not opposed to signing either man, he also made it clear that speculation means little until negotiations begin.
“The business model has been what’s driven the decision making. We’ve never been, ‘I bet if we did this and I bet if we did that we can conceptually do this.’ It was based on real models, Excel spreadsheets and figuring out, how do we turn this into a profit center for the company or at least a cash flow break even that could build to something. That philosophy is not going to change,” said Rebney to a group of reported at open workouts for tomorrow night’s Season 8 debut on Spike TV.
MMAFighting was on hand and captured the comments.
Rebney continued on to say Barnett hadn’t been a “topic of conversation” amongst Bellator brass but seemed far more intrigued by the possibility of “Rampage” competing inside the Bellator ring.
“He’s an awesome, awesome fighter, and an incredible personality, and I’ve been a fan for a lot of years. How he could conceptually fit within the format and the structure we have? That is something where I would have to get people smarter than I around the table and discuss,” admitted Rebney. “I don’t think he’d deny he’s at the latter stages of his career. He’s suffered a lot of injuries but he’s still a rock star at a very high level, and we’ll see what happens with his next fight. But we’ll still have to sit around and figure out where he fits. He’s exciting, he’s entertaining, but, that would be one of those square peg, round hole situations, but sometimes you can make those work. It would depend on a lot of stuff. It would depend on the legalities of where he is with the UFC. We’ll see. Who knows.”
Barnett picked up a submission win last weekend at Strikeforce’s final event but was not named as one of the fighters being brought over to the UFC in a recent announcement from the organization. Meanwhile, Jackson is scheduled to take on Glover Teixeira next weekend at UFC on FOX 6 and explore free agency thereafter.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC/STRIKEFORCE