UFC president Dana White’s perspective of Scott Coker (pictured) has been all over the board over the years: Early stages of Strikeforce – I respect Coker, but he’s not even on my radar. When Strikeforce convinced Fedor Emelianenko to choose them over the UFC – Coker’s the enemy. When Coker sold Strikeforce to the UFC – Coker did a fantastic job with that organization and he’s a welcomed addition to the Zuffa family.
Now that Coker has partnered with Spike TV, White’s former broadcast partner and current mortal enemy, to become the head honcho of Bellator MMA, the UFC’s biggest rival, White is starting his Coker cycle from the beginning.
“Not only do I know Scott, I know the guys at Spike very well. I was in business with them for a long time and I think this is a much better fit for them than ‘Bjork’ (Bjorn Rebney) was,” White said on the latest edition of “Inside MMA.”
Before selling to the UFC in March 2011 and closing its doors two years after, Coker accomplished things with Strikeforce that nobody imagined possible.
He managed to score a watershed network television deal with CBS years before the UFC was able to come to terms with FOX. Coker also signed Emelianenko when the game’s most decorated heavyweight was being aggressively courted by White.
Now that Coker is backed by Viacom’s billions, he plans on giving Bellator a “robust” makeover over the next 12 months. Gone will be the tournament-focused format Rebney loved so much and in comes “big fights.”
Let’s see how long it will take before White turns on Coker … again.