Bellator 293: Scott Coker Confirms Vassell Next for Heavyweight Title, James Could Join Chicago Card

Temecula, CA — Following Bellator 293 in Temecula, Bellator CEO Scott Coker hasn’t budged when it comes to the next title shot at heavyweight.

Chicago’s Daniel James threw his name in the hat with a win over #5-ranked Marcelo Golm on Friday, care of a third-round TKO in the main event. Champ Ryan Bader was on hand to witness the feat, and James called for the title shot after his win.

“The title shot is most likely going to go out to Linton Vassell, because he’s been on a tear too,” Coker confirmed post-fight. “But I think he’s [James] right up there.”

With that in mind, Coker is hoping to see James fight at home in Chicago next. The promotion returns there in June for Bellator 297 at the Wintrust Arena, an event that is already looking promising with two title fights.

“We definitely will invite him to fight in Chicago, but I didn’t know if he was going to get hurt or injured. Sometimes it’s better to just wait and see what happens. But I reached out to our fight team, I said ‘look, please invite him to come fight.’ If he wants to do it, we’d love to have him,” Coker told media outlets including Cageside Press. “I think Chicago is an unbelievable fight card, stacked top to bottom already. But putting him in the mix just makes a lot of sense, because he’s from Chicago and he’s been on a tear, doing his thing. And this is just another statement win for his resume. Let’s keep this kid busy.”

Later, Coker addressed James’ journey through MMA, which saw him make his pro debut for Bellator, then spend years away from the company, competing all across the globe before returning last year.

“He’s been at this a very long time. He’s just now reemerging. To me it’s a new fighter, and let’s see how far he can take it,” said Coker. “Definitely if he keeps winning, he’s going to get a [title] shot. If he wants to wait, that’s fine, but if he wants another fight, he’s definitely going to be right in that mix too.”

Watch the full Bellator 293 post-fight press conference with Scott Coker above.