Bellator CEO Scott Coker had nothing but praise for heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko following Bellator 208 on Saturday night.
Uniondale, NY — Saturday night’s Bellator 208 got the ending longtime MMA fans wanted: a win for Fedor Emelianenko in an action-packed fight. A place in the World Heavyweight Grand Prix finals for the man most consider the greatest heavyweight of all time. And while that final fight will come against a man best known as a light heavyweight in Ryan Bader, the match-up is more sporting than it appears on paper. Bader absolutely dominated the favorite to win the grand prix, Matt Mitrione, just one night earlier at Bellator 207. With the back-to-back shows in the books, Bellator CEO Scott Coker took some time to address the media backstage at the Nassau Coliseum.
Asked if Fedor in the final was the ideal scenario, Coker replied that “I feel like, as a promoter, who ever wins in the match-up wins, and that’s it. If he would have lost, Chael is a great promoter himself, and that would have been a great fight with him and Bader.”
“Both of them I think would have been interesting match-ups,” he continued, “but any time Fedor steps in the cage, it’s a special, historic moment, and I think we’ll have another piece of history on the 26th of January.”
“He’s so fast, he’s so explosive, he hits hard,” Coker said of his reaction to seeing Emelianenko working out in advance of the fight with Sonnen. “And that’s something that’s not going to go away. The speed might go away, but the power doesn’t go away. But the speed, he still has that speed. So to me, it’s pretty impressive.”
Coker, meanwhile, wouldn’t committ to Cheick Kongo being the number one contender for the winner of the heavyweight grand prix, saying “I think we have a couple of options.”
“You know we signed Minakov back,” he pointed out. “We have some great heavyweights here already. And Cheick’s another guy. We’re going to have some great match-ups in future in 2019 in the heavyweight division.”
Watch the full Bellator 208 post-fight press conference with Scott Coker above.