As expected, former Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker (pictured) will now take command of Bellator MMA, effective immediately.
“We are excited to have Scott Coker lead us in a new direction as we evolve the league format from a tournament-based organization to a more traditional model with big fights,” Spike TV president Kevin Kay said in Wednesday’s press release.
Coker, who reports directly to Kay, will oversee the day-to-day management of the promotion.
Spike TV announced this morning they had decided to part ways with Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney and president Tim Danaher.
A conference call has been arranged for this afternoon at 6PM ET/3PM PT to introduce Coker.
Coker launched Strikeforce in March of 2006 with “Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Gracie” and ended in January 2013 with “Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.”
During Coker’s six years at the helm, Strikeforce accomplished things nobody dreamed they could. Coker took an up-start mixed martial arts promotion from nothing and transformed it into the biggest rival the UFC has ever faced.
He managed to score a watershed network television deal with CBS years before the UFC was able to come to terms with FOX. He also signed Fedor Emelianenko when the game’s most decorated heavyweight was being aggressively courted by UFC president Dana White.
Unable to secure a long-term extension to remain on Showtime and allegedly hemorrhage money due to their hefty fighter contracts, Coker was forced to sell Strikeforce to the UFC for a reported $40 million in March 2011.
At the time, the UFC intended to run the two companies as separate business entities, with Coker remaining the head honcho of Strikeforce. It was soon discovered that his new role would merely be that of a figurehead, with White pulling all the strings.
After 61 events spanning over seven years, Strikeforce held it’s final show on January 12, 2013.
Coker was then given a makeshift position with the UFC as part of his agreement to selling Strikeforce. That arrangement came to an end earlier this year, leaving Coker free and clear to pursue other ventures, including leading another MMA organization to rival the UFC.
Now backed by Viacom’s billion dollar bank account, Coker once again attempts the daunting task of taking down a familiar foe.