Bellator's Scott Coker Considering Kongo-Nelson 2 For Alternate Grand Prix Slot

By Matt McNulty Oct 11, 2018


With the increasing prevalence of fighters withdrawing from events due to injury, often on short notice, Bellator MMA has a backup plan to ensure its heavyweight Grand Prix goes as smoothly as possible.

Bellator President Scott Coker revealed that plan during Thursday’s press conference for Bellator 208, which takes place Saturday. Chael Sonnen and Fedor Emelianenko will battle it out in the tournament’s semifinals, while longtime Bellator and former UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo (28-10 2) will fight Timothy Johnson in a main card feature bout.

“[If] Cheick wins, and if there’s a hiccup (in the tournament), we should probably have those two alternates fight, and then the winner can fight in the finals,” said Coker.

By “those two alternates,” Coker referred to Kongo and Roy Nelson, who fights Sergei Kharitonov on Friday night. Nelson was eliminated from the Grand Prix by Matt Mitrione earlier this year. Nelson and Kongo have met before, at UFC 156 in 2013, with Kongo losing via first-round knockout. At the press conference, the Frenchman was enthusiastic about the idea of a rematch under the Bellator banner, with the added stakes of an alternate berth in the tournament.

“It’s always good to meet an old mate and get some revenge, especially when you were not on top of your shape during your fight,” he said. “I’m not happy with the situation to (get in) the line again to get the opportunity to fight, but it is what it is.”

Bellator 207 will take place Friday Oct. 12, and Bellator 208 on Saturday Oct. 13.

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