In the days leading up to Bellator’s historic Bellator 200 event, which takes place Friday in London, we’re counting down 10 of the biggest moments in the promotion’s history. Today, we take a look at the arrival of Scott Coker.
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Bjorn Rebney launched Bellator Fighting Championships in April 2009, and his run as president, chairman and CEO of the promotion ended in June 2014.
Rebney announced his departure from the company he founded in a press release on June 18, 2014. He stated that he and COO Tim Danaher, who also left the company, had different views on the “right strategic direction for Bellator” than those of majority owner Viacom.
Hours after Rebney announced his tenure with Bellator had come to an end, the promotion named Scott Coker its new president.
“We are excited to have Scott Coker lead us in a new direction as we evolve the league format from a tournament-based organization to a more traditional model with big fights,” Spike TV President Kevin Kay stated.
Coker had run Strikeforce from 1985, when it was founded as a kickboxing promotion, until the UFC bought and then later shuttered the organization in 2013. The UFC absorbed a fair share of the Strikeforce roster upon closing down the promotion.
Coker later had a brief stint as a UFC executive, but he left the organization on good terms when his contract expired in 2014.
“The phone’s been ringing, but I’m not going to take something that’s just out there because I feel like I have to do it,” Coker said at the time. “It has to be the right deal, and it has to be the right deal for me because I think I could bring a lot of value to a company. I’m not in a hurry.”
>Scott Coker says Bellator roster will come into its own in 2019, downplays recent ratings swings
He was out of work for only a few months.
Shortly after he settled into his new position, Coker penned a letter to “Bellator Nation.”
“We want to put on the most entertaining events possible for YOU,” Coker wrote. “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.”
The “new” Bellator era began at Bellator 121. The changes under the Coker-led regime were swift and noticeable. The tournament format was (almost totally) abandoned. The women’s divisions were reopened and expanded. The promotion began to hold cards outside of North America. A kickboxing division of Bellator was opened. The number of events per year dropped so the promotion could focus on what Coker referred to as “tentpole” events. The signing of recognizable veteran fighters increased. There was an aggressive move to sign former NCAA wrestlers. And perhaps most importantly, Bellator became a significant player in the free-agent market, inking high-profile fighters such as Rory MacDonald and Gegard Mousasi. As for the tournament format, there was a one-night four-man light-heavyweight tournament in 2015 and the current heavyweight grand prix, which soon heads into its semifinal round.
One of the goals of the changes that have come under Coker’s leadership is to bring lapsed fans back to the sport.
“I think one of things we were able to do is bring the fringe fans back, the casual fans back, to MMA,” Coker said a few weeks after Bellator 131, which featured a bout between UFC Hall of Famers Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar. “I think that’s something that MMA needs. Let’s bring back those fans and not rely on just the hardcores.”
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Source : https://mmajunkie.com/2018/05/10-biggest-moments-bellator-history-president-scott-coker-focus-casual-fansThanks you for read my article UFC 200 Primer: Ranking The 200 Biggest Moments In UFC History