MMA Access: Scott Coker and Bellator MMA – What is Next

Scott Coker and Bellator MMA – What is Next
By Christopher Jester

Scott Coker is back to running a mixed martial arts organization. This time it is with Bellator MMA and once again, he is opposite of Dana White and the UFC. Besides the admiration between Coker and White, the former Strikeforce President has a tough road ahead of himself. The future of Bellator is resting in the hands of his experience and the financial backing of Viacom. All Coker has to do to remember what failure means for Bellator is to look at his predecessor.

Bjorn Rebney is now just a sour aftertaste in the minds of most Bellator fighters and Viacom. Now, Scott Coker has the potential to bring in his expertise to rise what is possible with Bellator. While he announced very little on his first day on the job, it still made most feel comfortable that Coker will bring his best to what could be a new dawn for the promotion.

There is very little surprise that Bellator’s tournaments will not remain on the forefront. With its demolishment announced, Coker also mentioned superfights at the top of the list and that is something that will stir within any Bellator fans. It is all only hypothetical at this point, seeing that Bellator only has a few fighters on its roster that could be matched up as superfights. In any case, it does look like the tournament format taking a back burner is the right move. Just what can they do with the limited star power?

Moving away from the Rebney stench won’t be easy. In fact, Coker probably has a lot of readjusting to do just to cover the mess that Rebney made with the morale of fighters, and fighter contracts. Ben Saunders and Muhammad Lawal both spoke out highly against Rebney. This would not have taken place under the UFC banner. Dana White would have their heads. Coker has to show that he is not Rebney and won’t stand for the mutiny.

Fighter contracts have its role to play as well. Whether that is through restructuring the contract altogether or adding tiny clauses, it does have to change. Rebney faced many issues with the contract dispute of Eddie Alvarez. Alvarez has publicly stated that he is ready to have his next fight just to get out of his contract. This is the sort of thing that Bellator has to move away from. Bellator cannot afford to lose some of the bigger names that have helped legitimize the promotion.

Bellator MMA has an interesting future ahead. It will be remarkable to see how Coker will implement those new changes. Viacom and Spike TV will likely move away from the Rebney era as fast as they can. So expect those changes sooner than later.


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  1. Here what Coker said today:

    Dear Bellator Nation,

    I wanted to take a moment and tell you all how excited I am to be a part of the Bellator family. I’ve been working closely with the incredible team here along with our partners at Spike to see how we are going to bring this great company to new heights.

    My first order of business is to take a look at the Bellator roster and determine all the exciting possibilities that are in store for the future. Our goal is to make every Bellator event feel BIG and special which is a huge win for fighters, advertisers, and of course- and most importantly- you, the fans. I’ve been on the phone with dozens of fighters and to hear the excitement in their voices has been incredibly encouraging.

    I know there are so many questions about what changes may be in store for Bellator. While we are still very early in the process of executing on our long term vision, the plan is simple. We want to put on the most entertaining events possible for YOU. We want Bellator to be a first-choice destination for the best fighters in the world and we want our events to showcase the fun side of the sport – the personality and showmanship that makes MMA so entertaining. This is the best sport in the world and we want our events to demonstrate that for all to see.

    We’ve got a ton of work to do, and July 25th is right around the corner. We’ll have more updates in the coming weeks, and I can’t wait to see all of you on Spike TV and at Pechanga in July.

    -Scott Coker