Scott Coker disagrees with how Logan Storley vs. Michael Page was scored at Bellator 281 this past Friday.
Storley defeated Page by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46) to earn the interim welterweight championship; however, his win has ignited debate on the scoring criteria. Storley utilized his wrestling and controlled his opponent on the ground with little to no offense, but Page found success and did damage during the striking exchanges. Effective damage is prioritized when scoring fights under the unified rules of MMA, so the Bellator president believed ‘MVP’ did enough to win on the judges’ scorecards.
“Honestly, I thought ‘MVP’ won that fight,” said Coker during his post-fight press conference. “And the reason why I say that, to me, it’s like I was talking to my guys back home and they go, ‘Look it’s close, but we think ‘MVP’ won.’ And I said, ‘Why do you say that?’ And they said, ‘Because half the round, he was striking. The other half, you can’t just lay on somebody.’ You’re not doing any damage, you’re not not getting closer to a submission, you’re not creating any threat. You’re just laying on somebody, and to me, that’s not MMA.”
Coker also offered a word of advice to Storley, who he says should improve in other areas beyond wrestling. The NCAA All-American has already shown he can wrestle anyone and everyone in the division, but Coker wants to see more from him in the future.
“I think Logan has some improvement to do myself too, because you can’t just lay on somebody and think you’re going to win and score points, because that’s not MMA,” said Coker. “That’s wrestling. So to me, it’s like, if you’re going to wrestle, I think you have to continue the wrestling and you have to continue to either try and submit or ground-and-pound or strike. There’s a difference between what you see on the wrestling mat and what you see in the cage.
“So to me, all these fighters — not just what you saw tonight — they’re the very highest level of what they do, but they owe it to themselves, they owe it to the audience, they owe it to the fans, that they have to continue to get better at the disciplines that they’re not strong in,” continued Coker. “Right? And that’s what I would tell Logan if he was here — ‘Hey, you’re a great wrestler. Now it’s time for you to be a great striker, or a great submission fighter and get your submission game together.’ It has to be more than just wrestling somebody. That’s honestly how I feel.”
The win over Page has not only earned Storley his first major championship but also a potential rematch against reigning champion Yaroslav Amosov should he return from defending his native Ukraine. The pair first met at Bellator 252, where Amosov defeated Storley via split decision.