Los Angeles, CA — Scott Coker says he’ll remain “cautiously optimistic” about Bellator’s performance on CBS on Saturday night, believing that the network reps at least had a good time at Bellator 290.
The card served as the swan song of Fedor Emelianenko’s storied career, while also doubling as the debut of Bellator MMA on the broadcast network.
More exposure on CBS will likely depend on the right fight, and they certainly had that Saturday. While Ryan Bader won the rematch with “The Last Emperor,” Fedor is MMA royalty. The stars came out, including a small army of his peers who entered the cage to wish him well in retirement.
“To me, he’s a true martial artist. I’ll always be a Fedor fan,” Bellator CEO Scott Coker told media outlets including Cageside Press following the event.
And yes, Fedor is the Greatest of All Time according to Coker.
“Absolutely. You can’t compare anybody else’s body of work to what he’s done over the last 18 years or so,” Coker stated.
“There’s moments in time and there’s spurts of runs, but nobody’s had a run like that. In my opinion, he fought the best fighters in the world, that were fighting in Japan at that time. They weren’t fighting here,” Coker continued. “The best fighters in the world, if you guys remember, back in the PRIDE days were all fighting in Japan. And he went through them. He did not duck anybody. Anybody [PRIDE’s Nobuyuki] Sakakibara asked him to fight, anybody. Anybody we asked him to fight, he always said yes. He always accepted the challenge. He’s a real, real true champion and to me, he’s the GOAT.”
Coker also confirmed it was Fedor pressing to face Ryan Bader for the title as his retirement fight. “Fedor’s been on a run, so it was hard to keep saying ‘well Fedor, maybe you should fight someone else.’ He was very adamant about fighting him [Bader].”
“After everything he’s done for the sport, I felt like he deserved it. So we put it together.”
Watch the full Bellator 290 post-fight press conference with Scott Coker above.