Chairman and CEO of Bellator Fighting Championships
Bjorn Rebney announced an exciting tweak in Bellator's signature tournament format, as a championship fight rematch clause will be implemented when the promotion moves to Spike in 2013.
Fighters will still need to win a tournament to earn their title shot, but Rebney says rematches of world title fights can happen when "called for."
"When a fighter's earned a shot at the world title by winning The Toughest Tournament in Sports and competes in a title fight that knocks fans like us back in our seats (win or lose) delivering an incredible fight, when a rematch is called for, we will deliver it," Rebney wrote in a statement on Bellator.com
"Championship fights give us some of the greatest moments in MMA. And, re-matches of incredible championship fights will give fans like us more of those electrifying moments, while staying true to the world's best fighters having had to earn their way to those title shots."
In the last year, two championship fights were met with rematch demands by fans. Following a razor-thin split decision, plenty clamored for a second meeting between welterweight champion Ben Askren and Jay Hieron.
Fans also screamed for an encore of the 2011 Fight of the Year, as Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler put forth four of the most exciting rounds in Bellator history at Bellator 58. These wishes didn't fall on deaf ears, as Rebney stated the new clause was "driven by" fan input.
"Our focus is to constantly improve our televised and live events for you each and every week. A large part of making things better is listening to the people who make this all possible and adapting what we do to give you the very best we can. We're committed to doing this as we move to our new home on Spike and the next step in our evolution."