With the news of Bjorn Rebney’s de-throning from atop the Bellator chair and the call-up of Scott Coker to take the reins of the promotion, the response from the MMA community has been fairly positive (both in wishing Rebney well and in praise of his replacement in Coker).
For some, however, Rebney’s departure is a call for celebration. One such fit of joy comes from Ali Abdel-Aziz, matchmaker of the World Series of Fighting and general off-the-cuff speaker.
Abdel-Aziz is no stranger to letting loose his feelings on Twitter. He got into a heated back and forth with Vinny Magalhaes earlier this year, a fighter not even under the WSOF roster. He took a very passive aggressive dig at Rousimar Palhares when Palhares had to drop out of a fight with Jon Fitch due to Palhares’ mother’s failing health.
So, it should come as no surprise that Abdel-Aziz had an opinion about Bellator’s changing of the guard. Unfortunately, Abdel-Aziz continues to talk first and think second. In an interview with MMA Junkie late yesterday, Abdel-Aziz said of Bjorn Rebney’s ousting:
Today is victory for all of MMA – for me, for you, for all the fighters. Today should be (named) MMA Independence Day. Freedom from slavery, freedom from abuse, freedom from shadiness—this guy left. I don’t want to say his name—just MMA fans should be happy, and I’m very sure a lot of people are.
I’m certain Abdel-Aziz isn’t insensitive enough to actually believe that a fighter being paid to fight on a national stage is akin to someone treated as property to be bought and sold and worked without compensation. It’s a bad metaphor. Unfortunately, his hyperbolic comparison is also ill-timed considering it was issued on the on eve of Juneteenth.
Obviously, the coincidence and timing couldn’t be worse. Luckily for Abdel-Aziz, the World Cup is on, and MMA isn’t covered in nearly the all-encompassing manner as other major league sports, so all he has to worry about is getting a dumb, fake award for putting his foot in his mouth.