Scott Coker and I go back a long time in the fight game

Scott Coker and I go back a long time in the fight game. Now the president of Bellator MMA, Coker joins me for a lengthy discussion on the growth of Bellator and its upcoming heavyweight Grand Prix.

Coker touched on numerous topics in our 30-minute chat:

At 1:20, Coker explains his vision for Bellator when he took over as president in 2014, and says he’s ahead of the five-year plan he set for the company.

At 2:22, he breaks down what he believed was the problem with Bellator’s old tournament format.

At 5:10, he talks about his penchant for spotting talent and explains how he finds fighters and what he looks for in them before signing them.

At 9:15, Coker discusses his free-agent signees and points out the thing that makes a difference.

At 13:52, I asked about the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. Coker talks about why he’s excited about the event and explains what will take place if Ryan Bader, his light heavyweight champion, wins it.

At 15:30, Coker gives his opinion on Rampage Jackson’s complaint about fighting “rasslers” and talks about Jackson’s punching power.

At 17:40, Coker talks about whether Fedor Emelianenko has anything left and why he gave him a spot in the eight-man field despite recent struggles.

At 21:10, he discusses the unpredictability of heavyweight fights.

At 22:14, Coker addresses the intense competition in the marketplace. Bellator 192 on Jan. 20 is going head-to-head with UFC 220, as well as a Showtime boxing card. Coker addresses that and identifies who he believes is Bellator’s true competitor.

At 26:11, Coker speaks about welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald and said MacDonald’s inactivity isn’t anything to worry about. He points to MacDonald’s dominant win over Paul Daley in may as proof.

At 28:32, Coker says he’s “still trying to work that out,” regarding an MMA fight between Ana Julaton and Heather Hardy. He said they’re also talking about boxing each other after they fight in MMA.