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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