5 Things You Might Not Know About Scott Coker

By Guy Portman Apr 4, 2019

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Scott Coker is a renowned fight promoter and the current president of Bellator MMA. Here are five things that you might not know about him.

He was born in Korea.

Coker was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1962 to an American father and a Korean mother. At the age of 9, he relocated to the United States with his parents and two brothers. After a stint in San Francisco, the family settled down in San Jose, California. He continues to call the city home to this day.

In an interview, Coker confessed that he has forgotten much of his mother tongue, but that he remains an avid fan of its food.

He’s a lifelong proponent of martial arts.

Coker started training in the Korean discipline of taekwondo at a young age. After a brief hiatus following his move stateside, he reconvened. Martial arts quickly became his primary focus. When the future promoter wasn’t attending school, he was usually found practicing taekwondo and karate.

He went on to earn his black belt in taekwondo from the famed instructor Ernie Reyes. In his early adult years, Coker used to perform at karate events up and down the country with his instructor’s demonstration team. Later, he founded his own martial arts school in his hometown.

He has a good reputation.

Throughout his successful career in the fight game, Coker has garnered a reputation as a reasonable and calm individual. This attitude has been integral in fostering relationships with fighters and developing the Bellator brand. Even when pressed by fans and journalists Coker is rarely if ever overly critical of others. It is apparent that this characteristic has earned the talented businessman the admiration of his peers.

He has appeared in films.

Coker appeared in a number of martial arts films during the late 80s and early 90s. His most notable cameos were in “Dragon Fight,” “Surf Ninjas” and the cult classic, “The Last Dragon.” While Coker has fond memories of his days on the silver screen, he has been quick to point out that he never had any aspirations of becoming an actor.

He has been promoting fights for 34 years.

Coker started out in the industry at a young age. The fledgling promoter hosted his first show in San Jose during 1985. In 1992, he unveiled Strikeforce. The organization initially focused solely on kickboxing. Coker used a simple philosophy to develop his brand, which was to find fighters with talent and build them into stars. Never one to crave attention, he could often be found in the back row at events, scouting for new talent.

In March 2006, Strikeforce hosted its inaugural mixed martial arts event: Shamrock vs. Gracie. It was the first time that MMA pioneer Frank Shamrock had graced the cage in three years. Even though Gracie was knocked out in just 21 seconds, the event was a huge success. 18,000 people were in attendance. Today, Coker reflects on that pivotal night with pride.

In 2011, Strikeforce sold to Zuffa, LLC, who were then the owners of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Three years later, Coker found himself back in the driving seat, when he was made the president of Bellator MMA. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded into kickboxing and signed a deal with DAZN¬.


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