Scott Coker Says Bellator Expansion Plans Include Asia, Latin America

Los Angeles, CA — Plenty of news came out of Wednesday’s Bellator 290 press conference, and promotion CEO Scott Coker had plenty more to share in a media scrum later in the day.

For starters, Coker shared that the promotion is likely to have talks with former Strikeforce and UFC middleweight champ Luke Rockhold.

“I think Luke’s probably going to come to the fight. We just haven’t sat down and had a real conversation yet,” Coker told media outlets including Cageside Press. “We’ve been busy with this event, so we will at some point see if there’s something that could work, or it’s a fit.”

Rockhold recently requested and was granted his UFC release.

In terms of fresh destinations for Bellator to visit, Coker singled out Asia and Latin America, though it could be 2024 for the latter.

“I think you’ll see us obviously in Dublin, you’ll see us in Paris which I think we’ve announced already. Towards the end of the year I think we’ll be back in Europe somewhere. And we’ll continue our expansion into Asia. I would love to do a fight in Korea at some point, and I think that makes a lot of sense.”

“When I think about expansion, we have to really start thinking about putting our movement towards Latin America,” Coker continued. “It might not happen this year, but I think maybe in the beginning of 2024, you’ll see us in Latin America.”

The Bellator head honcho also confirmed that Vadim Nemkov vs. Yoel Romero for the light heavyweight championship is still on. Date TBD.

“We definitely want to keep the Yoel fight, so when he’s healthy from his injury, we’ll put that fight together again.”

Finally, Coker told Cageside Press that he sees March 31’s Cat Zingano vs. Leah McCourt fight as a title eliminator.

“To me this is an elimination fight. Cris is still under contract, we’re talking to her about when she can come back, when she can be ready.” Calling her the GOAT of women’s fighting, Coker added “I still think she’s got a lot in her gas tank, so when she’s ready to come back, we look forward to making a deal and having her back in the cage with Bellator.”

Asked whether drug testing requirements have been a hold-up in booking Cyborg against Zingano, with the latter pressing for enhanced drug testing, Coker stated that the promotion’s policy was to leave that to the commissions. “She’s been through the USADA program for how many years when she was fighting at UFC? It’s something that, we’ll go by what the commission requires, and that will be it. But we brought Zingano here to fight Cyborg. Clearly, that was the message. ‘We want you to fight Cyborg.’ And it just hasn’t happened. We’ll see what happens on [March 31] against Leah McCourt, and if it works out, she has to step up and take that next challenge.”

Coker later clarified that Bellator’s women’s featherweight champ is currently in an exclusive negotiating period with the promotion, but expects to sit down with her in the coming week.