Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

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Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by Rizin=PRIDEFC on Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:10 pm

Scott Coker has a simple answer of what he wants Bellator to become, and why this Saturday night is a major step in that direction.

"I want it to be like Pride, only better," he said.

Pride was the leading MMA promotion in the world between 2000 and 2005, before an organized crime scandal that made the press doomed it in Japan, and before UFC exploded in the U.S. But Pride was very different from today's UFC. It was a promotion that sold both the sizzle with the steak, with the best produced shows of the era.

Long before he started running MMA events under the Strikeforce banner, Coker was the U.S. representative for K-1, another Japanese company that took the sport of kickboxing and made it a mainstream phenomenon in Japan during the 1990s. Kazuyoshi Ishii, the promoter, was something of a mentor to Coker, who attended the biggest K-1 events of the year. Coker would go to places like the Tokyo Dome and see it sold out with 50,000 fans, with production that made the stars into larger-than-life figures.

K-1 and Pride at times were rival promotions, but they also worked together, most notably on the first "Dynamite" show on Aug. 28, 2002, at Tokyo National Stadium. The show drew 71,000 fans, which to this day is still the largest crowd to attend an MMA event anywhere in the world. The show featured mostly MMA fights, but also had bouts with other rules, including kickboxing.

Over the next several years, "Dynamite" was the term used for K-1's biggest show of the year. It was held on New Year's Eve. Unlike in the U.S., in Japan, New Year's Eve is a television night. It's best known for live concerts that are almost the equivalent of the Super Bowl as the country's biggest TV event of the year dating back decades. The "Dynamite" shows, usually a mixture of kickboxing and MMA fights, were the strongest counter programming for the concerts in Japanese television history.

On New Year's Eve in 2003, the fight between Bob Sapp and Akebono, a 460-pound sumo legend, under kickboxing rules, had 54 million viewers watching live in a country with a total population of 128 million.

Coker's goal is for "Dynamite" in the U.S. to be a copy of what worked in Japan. The idea is for it to be Bellator's signature biggest event of the year, its Super Bowl, Final Four, or if you prefer, its WrestleMania. So there is a lot of pressure Saturday to deliver a memorable event to start what he is hoping will become a tradition.

"That's the goal," Coker said. "The tentpole events are a massive jump from the shows Bellator was creating a year ago. This is to be a once-a-year extravaganza with kickboxing and MMA. This will take Bellator's production, viewership and attendance hopefully to a different level."

Some of the similarities to Japanese big shows will include the big production ring entrances and video wall that Bellator introduced last November when Coker put on his first major event. There will also be the opening ceremony with all the fighters, which Coker said he isn't sure if it will be on television or not. There will even be a familiar voice from that era in Lenne Hardt, the eloquent female ring announcer who was an institution during Pride's heyday.

"She's going to introduce the fighters from the stage, like in Japan," he said. "If you remember Japan, they also had a different ring announcer in the ring."

What Coker hopes to make historic on Saturday takes place in his old stomping grounds, the SAP Center in San Jose. The 20-fight show airs live on Spike, which includes an eight-fight main card that starts at 9 p.m.

The show will feature both Glory kickboxing matches in a ring, and Bellator MMA fights in a cage, both set up on the arena floor. The show is headlined by Liam McGeary (10-0) defending the Bellator light heavyweight title against Tito Ortiz (18-11). It also features a one-night light heavyweight tournament, with first round bouts with Linton Vassell (15-4-1) vs. King Mo Lawal (15-4, 1 no contest) and Phil Davis (13-3) vs. Emanuel Newton (25-8-1). There is also a bout for the vacant Glory light heavyweight title with Saulo Cavalari (31-2) facing Zack Mwekassa (13-2).

The idea of a ring and cage next to each other, something that even Pride and K-1 never did, since they ran MMA fights in a ring, came from a drawing Coker said he made from an idea about three years ago.

"I thought it would be for a great show and thought, `How would we do this?," he said. "When I came to Bellator, on one of my first days in the office, I sat down with Kevin Nelson a graphic artist, and he made a mockup for me."

The televised event is scheduled to run until about 12:30 a.m. It will open with the tournament first round fights, which will both be two rounds. The two winners will then come back in the seventh televised fight of the night. It will directly precede the Ortiz vs. McGeary title fight.

Coker has nothing negative to say about the UFC, but is looking to create a strong alternate brand.

"Why can't we be different? It's good to be different," he said. "To me, we're trying to appeal to the overall fan of fighting. If you're a fan of MMA, tune in. If you're a fan of kickboxing, tune in. If you're a fan of martial arts, tune in."

Just as the name isn't a coincidence, neither is the location.

Coker, who lives in San Jose, began promoting martial arts events, mostly kickboxing, in 1985, right out of college, in smaller buildings in San Jose and the surrounding area. His bouts, under the Strikeforce banner, aired on ESPN for years. One of his earliest stars was Javier Mendez, now best known as the MMA trainer for the likes of Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier and Luke Rockhold. Later he built his promotion around Cung Le. Television and movie star Ernie Reyes Jr. even fought kickboxing fights during that era.

The first kickboxing fight on the televised portion of the show features Keri Taylor-Melendez, the wife of Gilbert Melendez, who a decade back, long before she was married, was kickboxer Keri-Anne Taylor, who fought with the old Strikeforce promotion.

When ESPN decided to no longer carry regular kickboxing, and MMA got legalized in California in 2006, Strikeforce became an MMA promotion, and grew even larger. Instead of running in smaller arenas in the city, he moved to the HP Pavilion, now the SAP Center. The first show, headlined by Frank Shamrock vs. Cesar Gracie, sold out with 18,265 fans, at the time the record attendance for MMA in North America. Strikeforce quickly became the No. 2 promotion in the country. A number of top fighters, Cormier, Velasquez, Rockhold, Clay Guida, Gina Carano, Nate Diaz and Miesha Tate all had their first major arena fights in Strikeforce.

With the exception of Las Vegas, more MMA history was made in that building than any other place. There was the Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua fight at UFC 139, which was one of the greatest fights in UFC history, headlining one of the strongest action shows that company ever promoted. Strikeforce had the Fabricio Werdum win over Fedor Emelianenko, which ended Emelianenko's 10-year unbeaten streak. There was the Carano vs. Cris Cyborg fight which was the fight that proved women could headline and draw a big crowd live as well as do record television ratings. That fight set the wheels in motion for the success of Ronda Rousey and women's MMA. And there was the three-fight series with Josh Thomson vs. Gilbert Melendez, among the best MMA trilogies of all-time.

Coker has been pushing the arena to the fighters as they've arrived in town.

"I keep telling them, you haven't fought in a place like San Jose," he said. "If you compare the MGM Grand (in Las Vegas, the home of UFC's biggest fights) to what we have in San Jose, it isn't close. They don't have the technology in the building. This is a well kept up state-of-the-art building. Those screens are just perfect and it's an amazing place to watch the fights."

"This is going to be our biggest showcase," he said. "From everything I've been hearing, the production is going to be amazing. It's going to look different and feel different."

Bellator has shown strong growth in the 15 months since Coker replaced Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney. Live attendance is up 72 percent, although that is a little misleading because they've played larger venues. But in comparing major arena show attendance, it is a 42-percent increase. Television ratings as of the summer had increased 34 percent, going from a 667,000 average to 892,000. Bellator broke its ratings records for the Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar fight, and then blew those numbers away for Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice, which peaked at nearly 3 million viewers for all its various airings.

Breaking those ratings records may be difficult, as McGeary doesn't have the mainstream recognition that Shamrock and Slice had, and with the longer show, the main event probably won't be in the cage until after midnight. But they expect to set Bellator's attendance record. Coker said that they originally set the building up for 10,000 seats, and have started opening up new sections.

"I would like to hit a (ratings) peak of 3 million," he said. "I'd like to have 12,000 in the building. That would be a great victory. But it's just great to be back here promoting. We're so thankful for the people in this market supporting us for 25 to 30 years. I think we've proven we can be ultra-successful in the Bay Area. We're going to continue to promote here and keep building Bellator here."

Further good news is that all the television commercial inventory for Spike on Saturday is sold out, with more than 50 minutes of commercial time.

"It's fantastic," Coker said. "All good indicators."

Bellator is now in 134 different countries and territories around the world, and are taking in eight figures annually from international television deals. Broadcasters from everywhere from the U.K. to Italy to Israel are coming to the show. Coker noted that even Nobuyuki Sakakibara, who was the promoter of Pride during its heyday and is looking at reviving MMA in Japan, will be in San Jose.

"To really have a business in Japan that's thriving, that the Japanese fans can attach themselves to, it has to be a Japanese brand run by Japanese executives, and on Japanese TV," he said.

On Monday, Bellator announced a deal with ESPN Deportes to start airing all their events live in Spanish starting this week. When Bellator began in 2009, its first season under Rebney was exclusively on ESPN Deportes, before moving to Fox Sports Net.

"ESPN Deportes has a long history of carrying premier sporting events, relevant to our Hispanic sports fans," said Lino Garcia, the General Manager of ESPN Deportes. "We recognize the changes and growth of Bellator over the past year and we are thrilled to see the world-class mixed martial arts organization return to its original television home,"

http://www.mmafighting.com/2015/9/17/9329035/scott-coker-wants-bellator-to-be-like-pride-but-only-better


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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by Rizin=PRIDEFC on Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:21 pm

My question is when?

You will do it with amazing fight cards you have and main events like Kimbo-Shamrock.

Look Dynamite is great and if I am not wrong next year there will be 1 more Dynamite event (what is great)  and 20+ crap events and that is a WORLD away from PRIDE so... do it then talk!!!
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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by backdoor to zuffa on Thu Sep 17, 2015 1:37 pm

Better. Rolling LMAO That's going to require much deeper talent pool and better shows.

And a ring.

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by fka on Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:02 pm

You guys can scoff and giggle....

But this is good news....

Thomson says he knows something about the future of bellator,coker says he wants to be like pride,

Am i the only one seeing the links........sakakibara.......hmmmm

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by fka on Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:52 pm

Bellator is now in 134 different countries and territories around the world, and are taking in eight figures annually from international television deals. Broadcasters from everywhere from the U.K. to Italy to Israel are coming to the show. Coker noted that even Nobuyuki Sakakibara, who was the promoter of Pride during its heyday and is looking at reviving MMA in Japan, will be in San Jose.

"To really have a business in Japan that's thriving, that the Japanese fans can attach themselves to, it has to be a Japanese brand run by Japanese executives, and on Japanese TV," he said.



Hey stu SUCK IT !!!!!!

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by fka on Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:54 pm

Bellator has shown strong growth in the 15 months since Coker replaced Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney. Live attendance is up 72 percent, although that is a little misleading because they've played larger venues. But in comparing major arena show attendance, it is a 42-percent increase. Television ratings as of the summer had increased 34 percent, going from a 667,000 average to 892,000. Bellator broke its ratings records for the Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar fight, and then blew those numbers away for Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice, which peaked at nearly 3 million viewers for all its various airings.


Double suck it!!#

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by TeamJohnPerretti on Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:40 pm

How is Bellator going to be better than Pride when they use a dog cage as their fighting surface?

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by stu3ufc on Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:02 pm

no chance in fucking hell with a shitty cage and Unfied rules!

That and having a roster full of shit fighters and UFC rejects (minus a few solid fighters who would be top 10 ufc easy)

Bellaturd sucks

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by stu3ufc on Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:08 pm

fka wrote:Bellator has shown strong growth in the 15 months since Coker replaced Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney. Live attendance is up 72 percent, although that is a little misleading because they've played larger venues. But in comparing major arena show attendance, it is a 42-percent increase. Television ratings as of the summer had increased 34 percent, going from a 667,000 average to 892,000. Bellator broke its ratings records for the Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar fight, and then blew those numbers away for Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice, which peaked at nearly 3 million viewers for all its various airings.


Double suck it!!#

They've had LESS shows compared to the typical 2x12 week schedule bellator used to have.

The product has gone to utter shit. Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar shit fight ....Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice fucking awful fight many thought was a WORK.

wonder how much coker has spent getting into debt hiring these ufc rejects...remember how shitforce went into the red and didnt become profitable ...thats why it got sold to zoofa.

Even with less shows I honestly feel the cards havent changed much at all. I actually thought the prelims were better under bjorn. The main cards have 1 fight to tune into the rest is just shit like paul daley, king mo, lashley crushing some utter fucking bum in a mismatch....Then you have shitty rematches every event....strauss pitbull 3 yawn.

Bellator used to be better overall under bjorn the fights were more spectacular...you had more upsets and war. under cokers match making you get the favorites crushing cans and getting undeserved title fight rematches after one win.


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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by stu3ufc on Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:10 pm

fka wrote:Bellator is now in 134 different countries and territories around the world, and are taking in eight figures annually from international television deals. Broadcasters from everywhere from the U.K. to Italy to Israel are coming to the show. Coker noted that even Nobuyuki Sakakibara, who was the promoter of Pride during its heyday and is looking at reviving MMA in Japan, will be in San Jose.

"To really have a business in Japan that's thriving, that the Japanese fans can attach themselves to, it has to be a Japanese brand run by Japanese executives, and on Japanese TV," he said.



Hey stu SUCK IT !!!!!!

those japanese fans will be tuning in by the hundreds at 4am on some random cable channel

also It's not even live in the UK so I never watch it on delay.

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by stu3ufc on Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:20 pm

you do realise that casual fucktards are tuning in for the names kimbo and ken shamrock and not to appreciate the Bellator product right? They couldnt give a shit for the other fighters like your daniel strauss or will brooks.

bellator on a normal night 600-700k viewers

Bellator with a freak show fight 1 million +

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by fka on Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:55 pm

You do reslize the AVERAGE over the ENTIRE night was in the millions....it peaked an extra million when the so called fucktards tuned in lol.

That means MILLIONS of people were watching from start to finish....

Again stu with half assed research and spreading misinformation......yup more and more a zombie every post LMFAO!!

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by fka on Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:58 pm

Also the average cards still get more viewers and average higher numbers then bjorns average oversaturated watered down tournaments.

I loved the tournament initially.....til the quality fighters in the tourney went WAY down hill.

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by stu3ufc on Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:45 am

fka wrote:You do reslize the AVERAGE over the ENTIRE night was in the millions....it peaked an extra million when the so called fucktards tuned in lol.

That means MILLIONS of people were watching from start to finish....

Again stu with half assed research and spreading misinformation......yup more and more a zombie every post LMFAO!!

people are watching for the BIG NAMES not bellator

also look at how non kimbo shamrock cards did ....nothing amazing....

zombie for who? I am a kickboxing and grappling fan now...MMA is utter fucking trash ruined by americans and their corruption

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by stu3ufc on Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:52 am

fka wrote:Also the average cards still get more viewers and average higher numbers then bjorns average oversaturated watered down tournaments.

You have less events but I feel like the quality hasnt improved at all overall. least the tournament brought well matched up guys against each other you have nothing to say when coker has lashley, daley, king mo crushing absolute bums in a squash match.

the bellator prelims used to have good guys on like cosmo alexandre and others now it's just full of c-rate american fighters.

u shit talk bjorn but he put on better cards and had more events each year...coker has less events and he's done nothing special in over 15months....you really wanna be proud of that kimbo vs shamrock horrible main event??? LMAO

The stars you watch were all built up in Bjorns era..... all coker has done is sign UFC /strikeforce rejects. he doesnt build talent and he loves throwing guys early to the established fighters..which make no sense.



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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by fka on Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:36 pm

Millions of people disagree lmfao Smile

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by stu3ufc on Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:00 pm

fka wrote:Millions of people disagree lmfao Smile

american cage fighting sucks.... It's a corrupt sport that treats fighters like utter shit and pays them nothing.

Go support this shit if you want but I'm out.

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by fka on Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:03 pm

Im going there tomorrow lol and they allow fighters better pay with sponsorship freedom so war bellator fuck mma hating buttfuckers LOL.

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by fka on Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:02 pm

I told you mother fuckers this would happen!!!!

People laughed and made fun......no prob......im ecstatic right now.


Hes certainly taking some good steps at being like pride.Really excited to see what happens in the future.

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by CDF47 on Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:14 am

fka wrote:I told you mother fuckers this would happen!!!!

People laughed and made fun......no prob......im ecstatic right now.


Hes certainly taking some good steps at being like pride.Really excited to see what happens in the future.

Can't wait to see how this JMMA org turns out. It really needs to be as close to PRIDE as possible; ring and rules especially, and production.

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by stu3ufc on Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:10 am

fka wrote:I told you mother fuckers this would happen!!!!

People laughed and made fun......no prob......im ecstatic right now.

Told us what exactly? The titanic ship sinking? Neil Armstrong the first man on the moon???? It's been well known for 2 years now Sakibubra (however u spell his name) has been wanting to come back into promoting MMA. Who exactly are you talking too ? LMAO...... I dont watch UFC and I think it sucks just as much as bellator. I'll hold my breath for a JMMA promotion that will bring back mma....If this new promotion is in some gay ass circular cage I wont be happy

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by fka on Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:51 pm

Told you bellator and coker would be part of the future.....they are hekping rebuild jmma and i knew they would be successful.....unlike a certain hater...

Smile

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by nodogoshi on Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:26 pm

I'm going with fka.

Their event was impressive, even if it was a plagiarism of DSE (though they got the go ahead obviously, so it's okay. Or we might say, it was a co-promotion with DSE, using their methods, which is probably more accurate, and which is still more pretty much okay).

I think the landscape is changing.

There are serious organized crime aspects at play.

Wait, what am I saying? This is combat sports.

Of course there are.

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by stu3ufc on Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:42 pm

fka wrote:unlike a certain hater...

Smile

who you talking about?

SAMURAI FC IS FUTURE!!! cat

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Re: Scott Coker wants Bellator to be like Pride but 'only better'

Post by NorthWestMex on Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:43 am

Needs PRIDE rules! But Bellator hasn't seemed to improve since Bjorn left. Coker has (a side from Phil Davis) only washed up fighters have been signed. The best fighters they had & have were born out of the tourneys Bjorn made. Instead of seeing MVP or Daley in a tourney in fights that mean something, we see them in squash matches against Olsen & Bears. Instead of a card every a week full of tourney semi finals, finals with prospects & title fights we see Guillard, Beltran, Grove, Ortiz, Koscheck signed or in the main events every month. Yet Coker let's Frodo, Alvarez, Ivanov, Vegh sign else where. I miss the Bjorn run Bellator!
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