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‘It’s 50-50 at this point’ — Scott Coker on potentially signing Francis Ngannou to Bellator

Could the ‘Predator’ be headed to Bellator?

Francis Ngannou after UFC 270.
Francis Ngannou after UFC 270.
Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

What are the odds Francis Ngannou signs with Bellator? ’50-50’, says Scott Coker.

A month or so after Ngannou and the UFC split after failing to come to terms on a new contract, the Bellator president revealed there was a ‘dialogue going on’ between his promotion and the free agent. Because Ngannou said he wanted to compete in two sports going forward, Coker said signing with Bellator would be the better option, especially with their association with Showtime, which promotes mixed martial arts and boxing.

However, despite their ongoing dialogue, Coker revealed that it has yet to get serious.

“My guys have been talking to Francis,” said Coker after ceremonial weigh-ins for Bellator 292 (video provided by MMA Junkie). “I know they met. I know [Showtime Executive] Stephen [Espinosa] met with him on the boxing side. I’ve always said that I think it would be a perfect fit for him because he could do boxing, he could do MMA. But I don’t think that there’s anything close to a deal being presented back and forth. Let’s see what happens.

“Anything can happen, but I’m not sure that we’re going to be in that business on the MMA side, continued Coker. “Maybe for the boxing side, it might work out. But to me, it’s like it has to be equitable for everybody, and that’s how I feel. We have a pretty robust purse amount every year and we can spread that around and we can take a lot of that purse and pay our guys and sign other fighters and keep building divisions. So to me, I would say it’s 50-50 at this point.”

For his next appearance, Ngannou expects it to happen in a ring. Though the ‘Predator’ and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury hyped up a potential fight, it appears as though that is on the back burner for now. The ‘Gypsy King’ and WBA heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk agreed to terms on an undisputed world title fight in April, so Ngannou would have to wait.

With Fury vs. Usyk getting scheduled, Ngannou has shifted to his other preferred opponents in Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, who have expressed interest in the former UFC heavyweight champion.

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About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)

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