Bellator President Scott Coker has fired back at Dana White for suggesting that ex-UFC fighters who have joined Bellator were let go by the promotion.
Back in August, Coker made headlines when he proclaimed that Bellator had the best light heavyweight division in all of mixed martial arts. In his defense, Coker’s comments came immediately following the news that longtime UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was vacating his title in order to move up to heavyweight.
“Listen, with Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight, I think we have the best 205-pound weight class on the planet with Bader, Gegard wants to move up, we have (Lyoto) Machida, and we have Corey Anderson now,” Coker said.
“We have a bunch of killers in that weight class. To me, we have a great roster of fights for him (Corey Anderson) – and even Phil Davis. I mean, we’ll be able to put some great fights together, and I’m excited about that division.”
Those comments did not sit well with UFC President Dana White, who responded to Coker’s claim with the following.
“Everybody they have in their light heavyweight division we let go of. He has the best light heavyweight division?” White scoffed. “We let all of those guys go. It’s the dumbest f*cking thing I’ve ever heard.”
Bellator recently crowned a new light heavyweight champion, this after Vadim Nemkov dethroned Ryan Bader by way of knockout.
Dana White and company will do the same later this September when Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes square off for the UFC’s currently vacant light heavyweight championship.
Ahead of tonight’s ‘Bellator 245: Davis vs. Machida 2’ event, Scott Coker caught up with MMAJunkie where he doubled down on his previous comments.
“We do have the best 205-pound division on the planet, bar none,” Coker said. “When you think about the fighters that we have, tonight, Phil and Machida, then you have (Vadim) Nemkov. I think Gegard (Mousasi) will eventually move up to 205 because he told me he wants to move up to 205. … That group has become a really healthy, robust division for us.”
Scott Coker continued to make his case against Dana White and the UFC.
“Ryan Bader and Phil Davis, or anyone that’s come over from the UFC, they’ve come over in free agency. It’s not that they come over here just because they got kicked out. That’s a lie. The truth is they were free agents and they wanted to shop their (worth) and we offered them a better deal so they came over here. These guys are prizefighters. This is not something they do just for fun. These are athletes of the highest level and they are prizefighters. If can come here and you’re going to get a better deal, why wouldn’t you come to Bellator? If you have a better deal there, then stay there and do your thing. As far as being kicked out of certain organizations, that’s a lie.”