Exclusive Scott Coker Interview: Bellator's Behavior May Stop Co-Promotion Dead

Photo by Esther Lin for AllElbows.com

Last week Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney revealed private text messages to the media, messages he claims he sent Strikeforce President Scott Coker. Rebney was on an all out media blitz to pressure Strikeforce into working together to promote a series of "champion versus champion" matches:

I have attached four (4) recent text messages sent from Bjorn's cell phone to Scott Coker over just the last week regarding this matter.  The first set of attachments (1-4) reflects the accurate cell phone of Scott Coker and the second set of attachments (1.2-4.2) indicates Scott Coker's accurate name.  Bjorn has additionally called Scott and left a collection of voice mail messages in an attempt to schedule a meeting where they could discuss this fight that Gilbert Melendez (Strikeforce Champion) asked for.   You will see that each text message is sent to Scott's personal phone which you can confirm.  This is same number Bjorn Rebney used to reach Scott previously.

This week, Coker went on the offensive. The Strikeforce frontman, one of the few MMA executives who is a huge proponent of co-promotion, says the texts Rebney sent went to an old number. And more importantly, if Bellator was serious about exchanging talent, Coker says Rebney knows how to find him.

"I just question whether he is really trying to make a fight happen or just trying to keep his company in the headlines," Strikeforce President Scott Coker said in an exclusive interview with Bloody Elbow. "If he's really trying to make a deal, I don't support the way he's handling it. That's for sure."

Potential matchups between Strikeforce standouts and Bellator champions like Eddie Alvarez, Hector Lombard, and Ben Askren were the talk of the MMA world this week. Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez has shown great interest in a fight with Bellator champion Alvarez:

"I think we're getting warmer. You guys are talking about it. Everyone's talking about it," Melendez said Wednesday during a "Savage Dog Show" interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. "Someone's going to get backed into a corner. We're going to figure out why it's not happening eventually, and that person's probably going to be cornered in and they're probably going to have to give in. Because everyone seems like they're up for it. Bjorn, Scott, Eddie and I. So there's something going on where we can't come to an agreement. I think eventually it's going to come out, and with media and everyone talking about it, I think we're getting a lot closer and a lot warmer."

Melendez wants someone to blame for the fight failing to materialize. As all eyes turn to Coker, the Strikeforce President says it's Rebney's conduct that could stop a potential deal in its tracks.

"You know what? I'll be honest with you: it's a concern. The business style that they operate under and our business style is completely different," Coker said. "When you see somebody, I don't want to say attack, but position himself in the media the way he's trying to - we're definitely going to take notice of that. And it's going to influence our decisions about who we work with and who we don't."

We'll have much more from a wide ranging interview with Coker tomorrow on Bloody Elbow.

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