Bellator President Scott Coker has actually been busy just recently, but carved out time on Tuesday to speak with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. Both Bellator and the sport of blended martial arts are in shift, but Coker shares both his bird’s eye view of exactly what’s going on as well as some specific moves his company is making in the industry.
On Douglas Lima pulling out of the Paul Daley fight with an injury:
“Yes, that fight is off. Lima got hurt, so he’s off the battle. We’re probably 6 or 8 hours away from revealing Paul’s new challenger, but we’ll announce it later on today when we get everything back.”.
“You know exactly what? I believe the main event now is going to be a battle between Emanuel Newton and Liam McGeery. That fight is worthy of to be in the main occasion. It’s a title battle. So, we’ll probably choose that as the centerpiece.”.
“My understanding is he’ll be out for 2 or 3 months and afterwards he’ll be back. Ideally, by summer season time we’ll have him in a big battle with the winner of the Daley battle.”.
“We’re not going to put Paul in there with simply anyone. He’s a world-class competitor at the highest level. Most likely the very best striker in MMA. A minimum of among the very best strikers in MMA. We’re going to put him in there with a hard opponent, test him out and the winner can fight Lima when Lima’s prepared.”.
On Mo Lawal combating Cheick Kongo at heavyweight at Bellator 134:.
“This is something he’s been asking me for most likely the last five months. He ‘d state, ‘Hey, I wish to grow to heavyweight. I wish to combat there’. He said ultimately he wants to drop to 185 [pounds] … He stated, ‘I can beat anyone in the heavyweight division. I can beat anybody in the 185-pound weight class.’ He feels he could be the total fighter at 205, heavyweight and 185.”.
“He stated if it ever came up, he ‘d enjoy to fight Cheick Kongo. I stated, ‘Here you go. Let’s get it on.'”.
“Let’s just see exactly what occurs with the fight. This is something that caught Cheick Kongo a little off guard, too. He kept asking us, ‘Are you sure this is a heavyweight division fight?’ He didn’t think Mo wanted to come up.”.
“I’m going to take a look at the fight and see how it goes for King Mo and if he performs well, we’ll offer him some more heavyweight battles if he wants them.”.
On a prospective Will Brooks vs. Shinya Aoki bout:.
“If that’s something Will truly desires, we can begin working to that. I just didn’t understand if that was necessary to him. We have a good relationship with ONE FC and I understand Shinya fights in IGF too. I can make a number of calls and see exactly what we can put together.”.
On his see to Japan and the state of MMA because country:.
“To see K-1 in its heyday, to see PRIDE in its prime time, I believe the new fans today are actually missing out because it was something special, something spectacular. They just had that ‘wow’ factor.”.
“I went to a few battles, really three different events in 5 days … I met a few of the key players during that market. You and I discussed Sakakibara and his installing resurgence. I fulfilled IGF individuals. I sat down with Fedor [Emelianenko], simply a lot of various boxers. It was a good time and I’m pleased I did it due to the fact that as dominant as Japan was in the past, there’s a location for them on the planet of mixed martial arts to make a resurgence and I believe that what Sakakibara is working on over there is very unique. He’s going to bring out a big bang before the end of the year.”.
“I think anyone who can promote a fight on New Year’s Eve and sell tickets and in fact have people appear then throw a battle the night prior to then a boxing match the night before and after that a kickboxing fight – a new program called Blade – the night before that … I suggest, here’s a country that’s, the word I would use is sleeping. They’re awaiting the next rebirth of a Japanese MMA promotion.”.
On the possibility of Fedor Emelianenko’s go back to MMA:.
“I’ve had a discussion and he made it extremely clear. ‘Right now, I’m not interested in battling.’ He definitely wants to stay associated with Russia which’s his main objective today. Whether he alters his mind or not later on, that’s going to be up to him, but it does not harmed to ask.”.
“We discussed a lot of various things. We talked about the temperature of doing a Bellator show in Russia. He’s extremely politically connected there. I think he works for Vladimir Putin running the Russian MMA program, mainly as an amateur ambassador.”.
On Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson’s first revealed UFC battle given that leaving Bellator:.
“I want I could comment, but I simply cannot discuss something that’s been committed the lawyers. I just cannot discuss that. I’ve been informed to stand down and I’m going to need to stand down on commenting.”.
“In this sport, absolutely nothing surprises me any longer.”.
On negotiations to sign Mirko CroCop:.
“I talked to my men today and I’m not exactly sure if we’re going to get there. There’s a particular amount that a competitor – even as terrific was Mirko was – the value deserves a particular point and I think that he’ll wind up in other places and we want him luck.”.
On Bellator 132’s outcomes:.
“I thought it was a great program. I believe the talent in the featherweight division in Bellator is as good as any league out there. These guys are world class competitors who’ll combat anyone. That fight had a great deal of trouble for Pitbull, went back and forth and had some charges along the way, however at the end of the day, you saw some world-class combating at the highest level and I’m pleased of those men.”.
“With Georgi ‘K’ versus Bubba, I didn’t really know what to expect. I ‘d never ever actually seen Georgi ‘K’ fight prior to. It appears to me this individual is a stud and he’s going to do a great deal of fantastic things. We’ll do the fight with him and Pitbull at the end of the summer season.”.
On the free agent market today:.
“There’s going to be free agent who come up time to time. It’s going to be our task to develop these competitors from the ground up that we have, and keep building them and keep constructing them. Exactly what a terrific platform we have with Spike TELEVISION to keep constructing these new stars.”.
“It kinda reminds me of Strikeforce, actually. We bought a few free agents. It’s not just us going after them. Believe me, they’re calling us. This is not a one-way street where we’re just going after boxers. We’re going to win some. We’re going to lose some. That’s just how the nature of this beast is going to be.”.
“If you’re a free agent out there or you’re going to end up being a free agent, you’re going to talk with everyone. You’re going to wish to use your take advantage of to obtain the best offer you can. We’re in a position now with the Viacom ownership group, there’s not going to be any fighter that’s out of the rate variety.”.
“If we feel the offer’s right and the boxer’s right, we’re going to do it.”.
On whether Bellator ever had interest in signing CM Punk:.
“We had actually discussed it, truthfully, however we never ever connected to him or made that call. We were not in dialogue with him by any means. It was just like, ‘He’s never ever had a fight before. You believe he truly wants to battle?’ I didn’t even understand if he really, actually wished to fight, so let’s see. Let’s see how he performs in his launching.”.
… and Alberto del Rio:.
“I’m not sure. From everything I understand, he’s still pro wrestling and he’s very busy professional wrestling. Even though he’s had some fantastic MMA battles – he fought a couple of big names – at the end of the day, it’s a various sport entirely.”.
“To me, I know that they’re still in discussion, but is he going to end up being a MMA fighter? That I can not respond to.”.
On whether there are competitors who Bellator wishes to sign that are currently available:.
“That’s an internal list that we’ll keep internal. Like I stated, we’re still speaking with individuals, but there’s some free agent activity. There’ll be some more free agents throughout the year. At the end of the day, we got ta construct from the ground up. That’s something we were actually good at doing in the past.”.
“If you look at the guys who originated from Strikeforce, we developed a good foundation of stars who originated from within. I actually think that’s essential. We’re focusing a great deal of energy on that with Bellator.”.
“We’ll construct from the ground up and we’ll purchase from the top down and that’s going to be our league.”.
On the state of Bellator’s ladies’s division:.
“I understand we’re signing some women today. We’re going to keep growing the 145-pound weight class and don’t be amazed by the end of the year if we bring in another division.”.
“This is something we’re going to get behind. That excitement level has not gone away. We’re going to continue signing to the 145-pound weight class and we’re in dialogue with a couple that we ought to most likely have something to reveal in the next number of weeks.”.
On whether Gina Carano will go back to MMA:.
“She’s doing films with Robert DeNiro. Why does she want to get punched in the face?”.
On Bellator signing Kimbo Slice:.
“We’re going to do some enjoyable fights. Spike individuals turned up and said, ‘What about Kimbo?’ Let’s say as far as a ratings deliverer, he’s bigger than anybody else whether it’s was on CBS or whether it was Spike TELEVISION. I was his ratings. The man can deliver super star scores.”.
“We don’t have an opponent yet, but I’ve had 200 individuals emailing me saying, ‘Please let me combat Kimbo Slice.’ “.
“I believe we’re going to have a discussion with Kimbo and if he’s comfortable, we’re probably have his debut in Bellator in the summertime time.”.