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Bellator President Scott Coker on deal with DAZN, the future of Bellator

In the midst of Bellator’s deal with DAZN, Scott Coker took a moment to talk about the future of his company

In today’s sports world, you must have a great sense in business. In the combat sports world, you have to amplify that sense a million times over. Bellator President Scott Coker appears to have that drive, and more. Announcing an agreement with streaming service DAZN, Coker is looking to change the way fans consume the sports they love.

The first event under the DAZN banner will be on September 29. The scheduled main event will be Middleweight Champion Gegard Mousasi defending his title against current Welterweight Champion Rory MacDonald. Other fights on the card feature the fourth bout in the Wanderlei Silva v. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson series and the start of the Welterweight Grand Prix.

He isn’t the first man to team up with DAZN. Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing announced a $1 billion deal a few weeks back with the Perform Group to produce fights in America. The deals help both promotions stick out, especially when facing competition from other promotions.

Double G Sports had the opportunity to interview Bellator’s fearless leader. After confirming that Mousasi v. MacDonald will main event the September 29 card and not Jackson v. Silva IV, it was smooth sailing from there.

Double G Sports: What is it about Viacom/Paramount Network and DAZN that enticed you to partner up with them?

Scott Coker: It is all about having a complimentary OTT (over-the-top content) platform. That is exactly what Viacom and The Paramount Network can provide. The same could be said about DAZN. We met with everyone. What we liked about DAZN was their commitment to combat sports. They already made a massive investment with Matchroom Boxing. Our nine-figure deal is also huge. At the end of the day, 30% of our fights will be featured to new markets on DAZN. The fight card on the 29th could easily be on PPV, but now it can be watched for a fairer price. What more can you ask for? 

In regards to future PPV events, Coker mentioned that at the moment, DAZN and The Paramount Network would be the only platforms for viewing fights. The last Bellator PPV was Bellator NYC/Bellator 180 back on June 24, 2017.

It is not unfamiliar for different sports to collaborate with one another, especially in the combat sports world. WWE and the UFC have done it, as well as with the boxing community. Now that Matchroom and Bellator are basically in the same family, one would assume two savvy businessmen could come together and plan something, right?

DGS: Any interest in collaborating with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing?

SC: To me, the door is wide open. If Eddie wants to work something out where we have boxing and MMA on the same night, great! Ultimately, it is up to Eddie, DAZN and Paramount if they want to work that way. As a fight fan, I would love that. 

If there is one thing Bellator is known for, it is their investment in highly-touted prospects and two-sport athletes. One specific member of the Bellator roster is 21-year old knockout artist, Aaron Pico (3-1). Another? Former Impact Wrestling Champion, and current WWE star, Bobby Lashley (15-2).

DGS: Is there any update on Aaron Pico?

SC: Aaron  is currently training and getting ready for a fight soon. We will have something ready for him by the end of the month. 

DGS: Now that Bobby Lashley is in WWE again, is there any update on his contract status with Bellator?

SC: Bobby, should he decide to come back to MMA, will be welcomed back with open arms. He still has several fights left on his deal with Bellator. I’m happy for him. When I see him wrestle, I know it is where he should be at the moment. As a fighter, he was definitely getting better, but I know it just looks right when I see him in the squared circle. 

DGS: This deal with DAZN has a WCW/WWE Monday Night Wars vibe. As Bellator continue to grow, where do you see yourself in regards to competition with the UFC?

SC: To me, it is all about the fighters and the rosters. We have some of the best fighters in the world. The best welterweight on the planet is standing next to me now (talking about Rory MacDonald), and he’s facing the best 185-pound fighter right now in Gegard Mousasi. Put those two together, thats a true mega-fight. I don’t necessarily compare ourselves to other companies, I just focus on what I can do to grow Bellator. The last three years we have done a great job, and now we are taking it to the next level. 

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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