Scott Coker is back at the helm of a major MMA promotion. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Scott Coker is taking over the reins as Bellator MMA president.
Spike TV President Kevin Kay made the long rumored move official on Wednesday afternoon in a release. Coker replaces Bjorn Rebney, who parted ways with the promotion earlier this morning.
It appears that Coker’s arrival will coincide with the gradual elimination of Bellator’s longstanding tournament format.
“We are excited to have Scott Coker lead us in a new direction as we evolve the league format from a tournament-based organization to a more traditional model with big fights,” Kay said.
Coker was the founder and CEO of Strikeforce, originally launching the organization in 1985 as a kickboxing promotion. He moved into the mixed martial arts realm in 2006; Strikeforce’s first MMA event under Coker took place on March 10, 2006 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
The California-based promotion signed a deal with Showtime in 2009. Zuffa would eventually purchase the promotion in March 2011, and Strikeforce would continue to hold events until closing its doors for good in January 2013.
“I’m proud of what we accomplished [at Strikeforce],” Coker told Sherdog.com following the conclusion of the promotion’s final event. “We had a great staff, but without Showtime, we just would’ve stayed as a regional promotion. I’m really thankful to them. They believed in us.”
Coker will be formally introduced during a Bellator MMA conference call today at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.