Scott Coker Talks About Dana White & More

Scott Coker of Bellator MMA talks about the future of Bellator, Dana White and more. Heres what he had to say:

On how he plans to promote Bellator different than former promoter Bjorn Rebney:

“They had a format where they were doing a weekly show and we’re getting away from that format starting next year in 2015. The last fight of this year will be our season finale on November 15th, which is Tito [Ortiz] vs. [Stephan] Bonnar. Next year, starting in January, we’re gonna be going to a monthly format. I think what that does is it allows you to run stacked cards. Big fights from top to bottom on every single event. Then, four times a year we’re gonna be in a big stadium around the country and that’s where you’re gonna see all of our big stars fight. So, we’re gonna have great talent, great fights — we’re gonna put on fights that the media wants to see, that the fans want to see and we’re gonna put on fights that drive the needle and move the ratings. We’re gonna put on fights that puts butt’s in the seats and we’re gonna have a good time.”

On how the schedule will be different:

“This is all on Spike TV. Let’s say January through December, we’ll put on 12 shows — all free on Spike TV and those will all be on Friday nights. Those will be top-to-bottom stacked cards and then on Saturday nights, four times per year, we’ll do the tent pole events where all of our big stars fight. Those will be on Saturday and those will be starting at, well they’ll be on Spike TV at 9pm as well.”

On the differences in promoting Bellator now compared to Strikeforce in the past:

“You know what, I’ll tell you. When I was doing Strikeforce, we kind of built it as we went. Right? I mean, I only had four fighters under contract when I first started out. I had Frank Shamrock, Cung Le, Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson. We kind of built it as we went. We got the Showtime deal, did the partnership with Pro Elite, I got my financial backers, you know, we did it that way. This one, I felt like I signed and then jumped on a train that’s going 800 miles per hour. Right? You know, great staff, really hard workers. We’re getting it done, but that’s the biggest difference, that when I jumped on — boom, we’re taking off. It wasn’t something that, you know, we could ramp up to.”

On what it’s going to take to compete with the UFC that way Strikeforce did:

“Well, I can tell you this — we already have a great television deal. Spike TV is a great partner, they helped build mixed-martial-arts. I mean, you know that — we all know that. It’s gonna be our job to put on the great fights and to build a cast of great, great fighters for the future and then when the free agency market hits and heats up, then we’ll get some of the free agents to come over. We’ll hit it from the bottom up and we’ll hit it from the top down. I think in 18 months you’ll see a really robust roster for Strikeforce, I mean, Bellator [laughs].”

On rumors that he’s trying to bring Kimbo Slice to Bellator:

“You know, I think we talked to him about his interest in helping us out to promote and we talked about him fighting some of the fighters. You know, maybe him and James Thompson, or him and some other fighters, but yeah, there was those conversations made, but I think he’s retired, so I’ll move on from that. I don’t know, I just heard that he wasn’t interested.”

On possibility of Frank Shamrock working with Bellator:

“I think Frank has moved on as well, but we’d love to have him involved, but he’s not gonna be fighting anymore.”

On rumors that Bellator was negotiating with Gina Carano recently:

“Well, we had a conversation but it was very clear to me that she wants to fight at 135 pounds so that she could go fight Ronda [Rousey]. So, I said, ‘look, we’re not gonna have a 135-pound weight class, so we wish you luck.’ And, I hope that she can make that fight happen.”

On his thoughts of Ronda Rousey:

“Amazing talent. Ronda is an amazing talent. You talk about a world-class athlete that’s dangerous and has a slick game and has a strong mindset, I think, you know, that she’s probably the most dangerous female that’s out there right now.”

On expanding Women’s MMA within the Bellator ranks:

“Yeah. We signed seven of the top ten out of the 145-pound weight class females and we’re gonna continue to expand it. We might add one more weight class and that’s kind of the future goal.”

On Bellator 131 going head-to-head with UFC 180 on November 15th:

“That wasn’t done by, you know, something that was planned out or any conspiracy theory. I mean, basically, they go almost every week [laughs], so no matter what Saturday we would go on, we’d probably end up going head-to-head with them somewhere.”

On how he thinks Dana White feels that he’s promoting Bellator now:

“No, no. I haven’t talked to him, but I’m sure, you know, he’s doing his thing, he’s successful. He’s got a great company and they’re doing very well and you know what? We’re gonna do our best over here and grow Bellator.”

On his take on some of the Bellator fighters doing pro wrestling, specifically with TNA Wrestling:

“How I feel is, look — if they wanna go pro wrestle? Have at it. You know? Enjoy yourself. It’s entertaining, it’s fun, but you can’t deny this — when the cage door shuts and they have to go in there and fight, you know it’s …you better be ready for the fight. And as long as they’re ready for that fight when the time comes, I’m okay with it.”

On where Bellator will be five years from now:

“I think that, you know, in this business, there’s gonna be ups and downs through the years. People get hurt, fighters get …you know, it’s just part of this business, but I think [the sport] has a long way to go, but I feel that the trajectory is still upward and onward and we’re gonna help promote that and push that.”

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