Bjorn Rebney wasn't happy. Far from it.
Just a few feet away from him, his featherweight title was changing hands. He wasn't upset he had a new titleholder to promote, but he was far from happy with how his champ was taken out – taking what was fairly universally agreed to be far more punishment than was necessary.
But with Bellator 60 and Joe Warren's brutal knockout loss to Pat Curran in the rearview mirror, Rebney said Warren is ready to get back to work.
Warren (7-3 MMA, 5-2 BFC) held his own against Curran (17-4 MMA, 7-1 BFC) for two rounds in the main event of Bellator 60 in Hammond, Ind., not far from Curran's stomping grounds north of Chicago. In fact, Curran's cousin, UFC vet Jeff Curran, told the challenger before the third round that had had lost the first two frames.
But in the third, Curran turned up the heat, and with Warren against the fence, Curran landed blow after blow to Warren's head – with the cage appearing to help keep him upright when he surely was out on his feet. With one final uppercut, and with Curran looking to referee Jeff Malott, seemingly begging him to stop it, Warren finally slumped to the canvas.
"It's the only time I can remember sitting cageside where I actually threw my headset off and started screaming," Rebney recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It was hard to watch. There are moments in time where you see athletes freeze, and there we saw a referee freeze. For some reason, he was not reacting to it. I don't know if it was the lights or the cameras or what it was, but it was a very poor job. It should've been stopped five, six seconds or more before it was stopped."
Perhaps it was Warren's sheer determination that helped keep him standing so long while absorbing Curran's punishment. He was undersized at featherweight, fighting above his natural 135-pound class the way he did in DREAM – yet he became the promotion's 145-pound champion.