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Tag: Scott Coker

Is MMA About to Enter a New Golden Age?


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

“It’s always darkest before it’s totally black.”-Mao Zedong (supposedly).

This quote aptly described MMA’s immediate future, or at least it seemed to until very recently. Card quality, fan interest, and–most importantly–numbers were all declining; 2014′s PPV buy ceiling of 350,000 was 2009′s floor. MMA was headed for a perplexing time when it was simultaneously bigger than ever but smaller than ever, when the fighters were more talented than ever but less popular than ever.

A series of fortunate events and new found circumstances can change all that. To make a Back to the Future reference, the horrific, Biff Tannen-owned Hill Valley that represented MMA’s future may well become the nice, stable Hill Valley in which George McFly is a successful fiction author and Marty McFly bangs his girlfriend in the back of a pickup truck. That is to say, MMA might be approaching a level of popularity, constancy and quality that many (including myself) didn’t think it was capable of reaching in the current climate.

What’s the reason for this cautious optimism?

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UFC 175 Proves the UFC Can Still Be the “Super Bowl of MMA” When It Wants To Be


(Two of the best fighters on earth about to enter unarmed combat. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Oversaturation. Lack of stars. Declining interest. Record-low numbers. An ephemeral casual fanbase. A hardcore fanbase that doesn’t care anymore. A resurgent competitor with a new, well-liked, adept president backed by a financial titan.

Those topics have all been under substantial discussion in the past few months–as they should be. Those are the very real, very pressing problems the UFC faces as we enter the second half of 2014.

But last night at UFC 175, the MMA world was able to forget all that–specifically because of the PPV’s main and co-main events.

The co-main event featured UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey taking on challenger Alexis Davis. As Rousey headed to the cage, I took to CagePotato’s Twitter and presciently stated Rousey-Davis would be the most one-sided fight we see all year. That’s exactly what it turned out to be. Rousey vs. Davis made Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie seem well-booked and competitive.

I know what you’re saying, “Why is the UFC-sponsored cash cow Ronda Rousey winning a squash match something to get pumped up about?”

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Shots Fired, Sort Of: Scott Coker Releases First Public Statement on Bellator’s Future


(She might move on to rappers and ballplayers, but we all know I [promoted] it first.” Photo via Esther Lin/Strikeforce)

A week after being named the new president of Bellator MMA, Scott Coker released an open letter to fans yesterday, laying out his vision for the promotion’s future in broad strokes. Check it out below, followed by some brief analysis…

Dear Bellator Nation*,

I wanted to take a moment and tell you all how excited I am to be a part of the Bellator family. I’ve been working closely with the incredible team here along with our partners at Spike to see how we are going to bring this great company to new heights.

My first order of business is to take a look at the Bellator roster and determine all the exciting possibilities that are in store for the future. Our goal is to make every Bellator event feel BIG and special** which is a huge win for fighters, advertisers, and of course — and most importantly — you, the fans. I’ve been on the phone with dozens of fighters and to hear the excitement in their voices has been incredibly encouraging.***

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It’s Official: Former Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker Steps in as Bjorn Rebney’s Bellator Replacement


(“Yes Dana, enjoy your reign as MMA king for now, because it’s all about to come crumbling down. Three years from now. MWAHAHAHA!!!”)

Ladies and gentlemen, it brings us great pleasure to announce that Bellator MMA will no longer be run by a dick-riding, UFC-aping lunatic who once drove a railroad spike through a dog’s head to intimidate a rival promoter. Let’s all take a moment to celebrate.

Amid reports that Bjorn Rebney had been forced out of his role with Bellator earlier today, the promotion has officially announced that, yes, former Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker will be taking over as head honcho. According to a press release sent out by Spike TV just an hour ago, the promotion will also be diverting from their classic tournament-based style and towards “bigger fights.” Said Kevin Kay:

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.

(*crosses fingers*) Please let “big fights” mean freakshows, please let big fights mean freakshows…

Bellator is planning to hold a media conference call at 6 p.m. ET, and we will update you on any important details that emerge from it.

-J. Jones

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Bellator Parts Ways With Bjorn Rebney, Scott Coker to Replace Him [UPDATED]


(Kimbo, it’s Bjorn. Listen…do you think Reality Kings needs any more security guards?” / Photo via MMAFighting)

Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney — the man who built the MMA promotion from a scrappy underdog on ESPN Deportes to a major player on Spike TV and pay-per-view — has left the building. Viacom officially announced today that Rebney as well as Bellator president and Chief Operating Officer Tim Danaher have left the organization, effective immediately.

As MMAFighting reported last night, it wasn’t exactly an amicable split; Rebney was forced out due to his ongoing conflicts with Viacom regarding the direction of the promotion. [Ed. note: Whoever wanted to turn Bellator into a home of freak-show/throwback MMA and surreal promos, CagePotato is on your side.] Considering that Viacom bought a majority stake in Bellator back in October 2011, the media monolith certainly had the power to kick Bellator’s founder out of his own operation.

But it gets crazier: Rebney’s replacement is expected to be none other than Scott Coker, the former Strikeforce founder and CEO who has kept a very low profile since Zuffa bought his promotion in 2011. From MMAFighting: “Once Coker’s contract and non-compete clause with Zuffa…expired in March, the wheels were in motion to bring him on board.”

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CagePotato Roundtable #29: What’s Your Wildest MMA Prediction for 2014?

Free Cage Potato dog
(2014: The year that Dana White buys this dog. For Bjorn Rebney. Too soon?)

When former CagePotato.com contributor Jason Moles announced his retirement in 2013, it appeared that there wouldn’t be a “Crazy Enough to be True” predictions column for 2014. Rather than let the opportunity to make outlandish assumptions about the state of our favorite sport pass us up, we’ve decided to offer our wildest ideas in the form of a CagePotato Roundtable. Read on for our picks, share yours in the comments section, and please continue to send your ideas for future CagePotato Roundtable topics to tips@cagepotato.com.

Ben Goldstein


(Mariusz Pudzianowski defends his UFC Poland Super-Heavyweight Title against honorary polack Bob Sapp. / Photo via Sherdog)

Though the UFC once laid claim to the title of fastest-growing sport, the promotion has begun to hit its ceiling in the United States. And they know it — which is why they’ve been pushing so hard for World Fucking Domination lately. After finding major success in international markets like Canada and Brazil, the UFC has been busy laying the groundwork in overseas locales as far-flung as Singapore, India, Turkey, and Poland.

The problem is, none of these upcoming markets have the talent pool available to produce a world champion in the foreseeable future. Or a top contender. Or a fighter who could credibly compete anywhere on a pay-per-view main card. That’s why I’m predicting that 2014 will see the unveiling of individual UFC titles for countries/continents. I mean, Vitor Belfort is already the middleweight champion of Brazil, right? They might as well give him a belt and make it official.

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Friday Link Dump: The Complete Oral History of Strikeforce, King Mo Wants to Box Kimbo Slice, The 50 Dirtiest Athletes Ever + More


(Seems like oooooold times…” / Photo via allelbows)

- The Rise and Fall of the Pepsi to UFC’s Coke: A Strikeforce Oral History (BleacherReport)

- Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones Official For UFC 159 in New Jersey (FightDay)

Gegard Mousasi and the Frustration of ‘Overrated’ (MMAFighting)

King Mo Lawal Has Boxing Clause in His Contract, Would Like a Fight With Kimbo Slice (BloodyElbow)

- Cub Swanson Says Fight With Dennis Siver Is #1 Featherweight Contender Match (Fightline)

The 50 Dirtiest Athletes in Sports History (Complex)

Review: Brian J. D’Souza’s “Pound for Pound” MMA book Is Top-Class Reading (FightOpinion)

- Photo of the day: Ed O’Neill chokes out Royce Gracie on the set of ‘Modern Family’ (Facebook.com/CagePotato)

Steven Seagal Owns a Bullet-Proof Kimono. This Is Not a Joke. (FilmDrunk)

If You’ve Never Seen American Psycho, This Rory MacDonald Comic Will Not Make Sense (MiddleEasy)

10 Reasons You’re Not Getting Laid (MensFitness)

- Honest Trailers: Inception (ScreenJunkies)

17 Gifts for People You Hate (EgoTV)

- A Gallery of White People Acting Extremely White (WorldWideInterweb)

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Quote of the Day: Dana White Says Women’s MMA is “Absolutely Going to Happen” in the UFC


(Let’s just say that Cristiane has a way of “convincing” men to do what she wants. We won’t give away the secret, but it involves a garden hose, a tub of creamed corn, a circus midget, and a LOT of tears.) 

What a difference one year (and a smokin’ hot champion) can make.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen UFC President Dana White pull a 180 on such topics as TRT, fights that “make sense,” and most importantly, women’s MMA. Where less than a year ago, Dana could be quoted as saying that we would “never” see women in the UFC – unless they were informing us what round it is, of course — nowadays, his attitude seems to have shifted in the opposite direction. This could partially be due to the success of such smaller promotions as InvictaFC, but is more a result of Dana’s budding fascination with Ronda Rousey, who he has referred to as “unique,” “a Diaz brother,” and “a f*cking dude trapped in this beautiful body.” We’re not sure how he would consider the second quality to be all that endearing, but needless to say, The Baldfather recently informed Sports Illustrated that WMMA is on its way to the UFC:

It’s absolutely going to happen.

[It] could happen tomorrow, it could happen a year from now.

We’ve just heard word that Scott Coker has hung himself.

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September 29th Strikeforce Card Canceled After Gilbert Melendez Suffers Training Injury


(Welcome, gentlemen. We’ve been waiting for you.)

For the second consecutive month, Zuffa has canceled an event on very short notice due to one of the headliners pulling out with an injury. As confirmed in a press release on UFC.com, Gilbert Melendez suffered an injury in training, and was forced to withdraw from his lightweight title fight against Pat Healy at this Saturday’s Strikeforce show in Sacramento. As a result, the 9/29 card has been scratched altogether.

As with UFC 151, the relative weakness of the “Melendez vs. Healy” supporting card was surely a factor in the event’s cancelation. But what makes this situation unique is that Showtime essentially made the decision, not Strikeforce. From the press release:

Without the Melendez-Healy title bout, SHOWTIME®, which determines which fights are televised on the premium network, decided that it would not air Saturday’s scheduled event.

“When SHOWTIME informed us that it would not be airing the event, we made the difficult decision to cancel Saturday’s card in Sacramento,” STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott Coker said. “Without a television partner, we simply could not move forward with this event. We wish Gilbert a speedy recovery and will work diligently and quickly to reschedule the fighters affected by this news on upcoming cards.”

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Strikeforce Deathwatch: Strikeforce.com Is Basically Just a Screen-Shot of a Microsoft Word Document Now


(“It looks like you’re starting an MMA promotion. May I suggest throwing all your money into a pit and lighting it on fire instead?”)

We haven’t had a good Strikeforce Deathwatch in a while, but this one might be my favorite. A month out from their Barnett vs. Cormier event on May 19th — which also features the lightweight title fight/trilogy match between Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson — several eagle-eyed fight fans have noticed that Strikeforce’s official website has been drastically scaled down.

Gone are all the sub-sections on Strikeforce.com, which directed readers to event calendars and fight rosters. Instead, it looks like some intern just screen-capped the latest press-release on MS Word — without running spelling-and-grammar-check first, mind you — posted it, and called it a day. The only link on the site is contained in the poster image at the top, which directs to a freakin’ GoDaddy page.

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