Former Strikeforce head Scott Coker named Bellator MMA president
Strikeforce founder and former CEO Scott Coker is taking over the helm of Bellator MMA, effective immediately.
Spike TV officials today made the announcement while also suggesting Bellator may do away with its tournament-based format.
The appointment comes hours after the cable channel, which is home to the fellow Viacom-owned fight promotion, announced the departures of longtime executives Bjorn Rebney and Tim Danaher.
According to the announcement, Coker will oversee the day-to-day management of Bellator MMA, which Rebney founded in 2009.
“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,” stated Spike TV President Kevin Kay, whom Coker will report to.
Coker formed Strikeforce in 1985 as a kickboxing promotion, but the organization moved into MMA in 2006 and soon made that sport its focus. Coker was at the helm as the organization promoted some massively successful shows, primarily in the area of its San Jose, Calif., headquarters, while developing and promoting many of MMA’s biggest names.
The well-respected fight veteran sold the company to Zuffa LLC, the UFC’s parent company, in 2011. Coker continued to head the promotion, but Zuffa eventually closed shop in January 2013 and folded Strikeforce’s talent into the UFC.
Coker, who then had a short stint as a UFC executive, fulfilled his contract a few months later. At the time, he told MMAjunkie he wasn’t ready to rush back into the promoting business.
“The phone’s been ringing, but I’m not going to take something that’s just out there because I feel like I have to do it,” Coker said at the time. “It has to be the right deal, and it has to be the right deal for me, because I think I could bring a lot of value to a company. I’m not in a hurry.”