Strikeforce’s Coker Downplays Budding War with UFC

Written by Tom Ngo
August 7th, 2009

Bust out your Army fatigues because the battle for MMA supremacy has officially begun. The mom-‘n-pop Strikeforce became a legit player after their signing of Fedor Emelianenko and the UFC isn’t liking it in the least bit, especially president Dana White.

“They should have stayed the way they were,” White said in regards to Strikeforce’s latest attempt to dip into their MMA market. “We’ll see what happens. If they want to fight me, we’re gonna fight. We know how that goes, and we know how it ends.”

Although White may already be putting on his war paint after getting snubbed by Emelianenko for the second time, Strikeforce’s highly respected CEO, Scott Coker, is having none of it.

“Why would one fighter create a war? I don’t think this will escalate like the fans like to gossip (it will),” Coker said of the fallout resulting from his ginormous signing.

Like White, Coker believes the sport of mixed martial arts hasn’t even scratched the surface as far as popularity goes, however unlike White, Coker believes there is plenty of room for competition.

“I would hate to think this would be the catalyst for this to escalate,” Coker said. “To me, I’m still of the feeling that everything’s going to be OK. We’re running our business the way we’re running it and they’re going to continue with their successful business. I guess they say only time will tell.”

The “time” was actually 2 weeks ago when Emelianenko hit the free agent market after Affliction Entertainment’s demise, and Coker gladly seized the opportunity after his MMA promotional counterparts refused to give Team Fedor what they coveted the most.

“We’re comfortable doing (co-promotions with M-1 Global), and let’s face it –- Fedor is the greatest heavyweight in the world and he has been for some time,” said Coker. “How often does a free agent like that come on the market?”

Actually, that would be twice within the last two years, but who’s counting …

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