Muhammed Lawal is still no fan of Bjorn Rebney.
Rebney was introduced in an advisory capacity for the newly formed Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) on Wednesday, and he often took the lead on a conference call when it came to explaining the long-term plan of the association. The MMAAA is seeking better pay and benefits for past and present UFC fighters and will be headed by a five-man board of Georges St. Pierre, Donald Cerrone, Tim Kennedy, Cain Velasquez and T.J. Dillashaw.
While Rebney will not have a say in the final decision-making process, Lawal warned the group against aligning themselves with the former Bellator MMA CEO in a post on his Instagram account.
“U got 5 great fighters standin by 1 big dick rider on the far left,” Lawal wrote. “These boys are about to get finessed f—-in’ wit him. People learn the hard way tho.”
That very public animosity dates back to Bellator MMA’s lone pay-per-view offering on May 17 2014, when “King Mo” had some choice words for the then promotion CEO.
“I came out here to beat [Quinton] ‘Rampage’ Jackson and stop all the dick riding Bjorn be doing,” Lawal said in a pre-fight interview that night before his headlining bout against Jackson.
The interview with Bellator MMA announcer Jimmy Smith was cut off there due to dubious claims of technical issues, but Lawal didn’t stop there, as he continued to express his distaste for Rebney following a controversial split-decision loss to Jackson.
“Bjorn, you know what’s up, man,” he said. “You know you didn’t win that fight, all smiling and s---. ‘Rampage,’ nothing against you. I beat you, though. You know it, and your corner knows it. I won that fight; and Bjorn, cut me if you don’t like me. You know I won that fight.”
Prior to Wednesday, Rebney had been quiet since Bellator parted ways with him and hired Scott Coker as organization president in June 2014. As Lawal mentioned, his reputation was not necessarily the most pristine during his tenure with the promotion. Rebney briefly addressed those concerns during the call.
“I think the easiest way for me to respond without going into a great deal of depth is that the most successful year I ever had as a promoter I paid the athletes that fought for me 53 percent of our revenues,” Rebney said. “So if the UFC and Ari Emanuel and WME-IMG would like to step up and equal 53 percent, I’m pretty confident that we’ll be able to get this thing settled within a matter of weeks.” Rebney also insisted that he has no plans to get back into the MMA promotion business.
“This is my focus,” he said. “We’ve been working on this for over two years...MMA has been pretty good to me. It’s not often you get an opportunity to step up and do something that’s right. I’m gonna be in this as long as these guys that sit on this sport want me to be in this.”
For now, much of how the MMAAA will work and what it will do remains a mystery — and that, according to Rebney, is largely by design to avoid giving the UFC and WME-IMG any insight into its plans. Still, Lawal believes the association could have chosen a better parnter than Rebney.
“Its not about me and him not gettin along. Its about his crookedness....u wouldn't kno cuz u are a fan thats lookin in from the outside,” Lawal wrote in a response to his initial post. “Do your research. Rob Maysey and the MMAFA been workin on a Union for fighters since 2011. Its positive.....tell me how?? U want positive....get Randy Couture to lead it. He went to war with the ufc.
“Imagine if fighters needed bank accounts.....then Don King came and said I will open up bank accounts for all fighters,” he continued. “I will help u and lead the way.....would u do it???? Ask Tyson, Holmes, Orlen Norris, Trinidad, and Mayorga for their advice after they dealt with Don King. This is a similar situation.”