Right off the bat Spike TV president Kevin Kay made it clear that this was not going to be a call about Bjorn Rebney or Tim Danaher as the executives leaving the organization. He also expressed a general lack of interest in discussing much of the ins and outs or Bellator’s businesses relations to the media. This call was mostly about announcing the new blood and getting people interested in change. That said, a couple of major business points were revealed. First and foremost, Kay said that Spike would be “100% fine” with Bellator co-promoting future events. And they also revealed that while many of the past plans and formats may be going out the window, plans for another future PPV is very likely here to stay.
Speaking of past plans going out the window, Coker revealed that while tournaments are likely gone as a key formatting aspect of Bellator, the tournament itself is not dead. There may be tournaments again down the line, but only when the situation, timing, and fighters make sense for a tournament. The loss of tournaments in general may also spell disaster for past tournament winners as Coker was unwilling to comment as to whether or not past tournament champions would still be getting promised title shots. This included talk of the Alvarez/Chandler/Brooks trifecta, for which Coker was also unwilling to give any solid updates.
It also sounds like the seasonal format may be going out the door as well. The addition of the “Summer Series” already meant that Bellator’s seasons amounted to a couple months off here and there, but it sounds like they’ll be moving to a more traditional year-round event schedule under new leadership. Although it’s not quite clear what “new leadership” means in this sense, as Ariel Helwani asked if Coker was now a part owner of Bellator and had his line of questioning succinctly shut down.
Whether Coker is actually invested or not, he may not be working out of the Newport Beach much longer, as Coker was uninterested in committing to the location as his longterm office with the promotion. Coker stated that Viacom’s commitment to MMA was what drew him out of retirement, and considering that he ran most of Strikeforce’s operations out of San Jose, it wouldn’t be shocking if that’s where the Bellator offices ended up as well, somewhere down the line.
A couple of final takeaways: Coker did say that he plans on filling out the Bellator roster with more talent, but there was no news as to whether that would involve a bigger budget than Rebney had to work with, or the relaxing of Bellator’s notably predatory contracts. And Kevin Kay was also able to reaffirm the 100,000 buy rate for Bellator’s first PPV, something that still remains a point of skepticism for fans. Either way, and despite a lot of non-answers and reading between the lines for information, Coker has a strong history of guiding martial arts promotions and a solid base to work from in Bellator. It will be fascinating to see how the company changes in the coming months and years. Be sure to stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates on Bellator’s shifting structure.
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