Coker calls Bellator 205lb division the best in the world following Nemkov winning title.
Bellator MMA President Scott Coker is very proud of the product the promotion has been producing since their return to action late last month. Through three fight cards in just about a month (Bellator 242, 243,and 244), Coker is happy to be at Mohegan Sun Arena and believes this will be Bellator’s home for the remainder of the year. Following Bellator 244 on Friday, Coker sang the praises of his team and how successful they have been.
“It is really amazing,” Coker told media outlets including Cageside Press. “Last week on my staff call, I said ‘you know guys, I’m really proud of all of you guys because this is not our core business, when you think about it.’ Arranging testing, getting it back in 12 hours, testing all these athletes, this is not our core business. We really got into the COVID business, let’s put it that way,” Coker continued. “Coming from running a fight company and adapting to this scenario has been impressive to watch. Our guys really adapt, stay fluid, and get it done.”
It’s been “very successful,” Coker added, especially given the uncertainties heading into the pandemic era.
Coker had said pre-fight that the Bader vs. Nemkov title fight would be huge, because Bellator holds the keys to the best 205lb division in MMA. With Jon Jones potentially moving on to heavyweight, Coker believes Bellator is the front-runner for the top division.
“I think that put an exclamation point at the end of my statement,” Coker told the media. “When Jon Jones moved up to heavyweight, clearly now we have the best division. Nemkov had a great fight with Phil Davis that went to decision, he beat [ex-champ] Liam McGeary clearly. But when I think about Phil Davis, Nemkov and Bader… and I think that with Corey Anderson on board now, we are going to have a fun time fighting these guys, and getting some great fights out of them.”
Coker also spoke on the recent victory by Michael Chandler whom is now openly a free agent. Chandler has taken to Twitter to play matchmaker with the fans to continue the excitement, with many of the fighters he has mentioned from the UFC, not his longtime home of Bellator.
“We’ve been speaking to Michael for 5 or 6 months,” Coker revealed. “There is a business component with this relationship to every fighter. We would like to make a deal with Michael but we will see what happens,” Coker continued. “Free agency goes both ways, sometimes you win like Corey Anderson and sometimes you lose but we are still in the game we will see what happens.”
While the former Bellator Champion remains a free agent one major name that did get signed recently was Valerie Loureda. The Miami star remains undefeated and is now 3-0 with the promotion. Bellator recently announced the re-signing of the 22 year old via press release. Coker praised Loureda for her spirit and willingness to grow.
“What I really like about her [Loureda] was when we first discovered her, she’s a traditional martial artist, her father teaches Tae Kwon Do, her sister trains,” Coker explained.
“She’s got some kicking skills, some punching skills. What I really like is that she is in the gym, she’s training MMA, she’s learning the game of mixed martial arts, not just sticking to her traditional style.” Coker noted that she’s got some power, and has clearly worked on her striking. Then there’s the intangibles. “I think the world enjoyed her Tik Tok dance,” Coker continued. “She had a lot of engagement in that and we’ll take it it’s great for us too. At the end of the day you have to put your time in, you have to learn to be a real mixed martial artist fighter, which she’s doing.”
“She’s got that little grit about her,” Coker added. “She just has to keep training and getting better and better. I look forward to putting her back in the cage soon.”
Watch the full Bellator 244 post-fight press conference with Scott Coker above.