Josh Koscheck’s recent injury may have caused Bellator MMA’s immediate plans to go awry, but the promotion’s long-term vision for the UFC veteran remains relatively intact.
Koscheck was supposed to headline Bellator 148 on Friday at the Save Mart Center in his hometown of Fresno, Calif., sharing top billing with former UFC rival Paul Daley, who was booked for the co-main event. However, when “Kos” was forced to withdraw from his scheduled clash with Matt Secor, Daley’s showdown with Andy Uhrich was shifted to the main event.
The setback slowed momentum for a potential rematch between the two welterweights. Their infamous first meeting occurred at UFC 113, where Daley threw a sucker punch at Koscheck after the final bell and was banned from the Las Vegas-based promotion as a result. Even Daley recently expressed doubts as to whether their return date would ever come to fruition.
However, while Bellator President Scott Coker doesn’t have a clear timetable for Koscheck’s recovery, he has no issues pitting “The Ultimate Fighter 1” veteran against Daley in his promotional debut. Exactly when that happens remains to be seen.
“I’m gonna hold judgment on that because I have to wait to see what the doctors say and how long he’s going to be out. I know he’s getting treatment and he’s doing everything he can to get healthy,” Coker told Sherdog.com “We have to just sit back and wait and see how he heals up. Would we like to put that fight together? Absolutely. Does he have to fight a tune-up fight before he fights [Daley]? No, I don’t think so.”
Despite Koscheck’s absence, Coker said interest remains strong for Friday’s card, which airs on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
“We’ve been building Fresno as one of our monthly shows and every time we go there the attendance gets better and better,” Coker said. “This one’s going to break the record of the last one. I’m excited. I think we’re going to have a big turnout. ...There’s a couple fights on here that have title implications.”
Bellator has announced that it will be holding an event in London later this year, and Coker admitted that yet-to-be announced card would be an ideal place to book the Daley-Koscheck rematch. Daley is a native of Nottingham, England.
“That would be a great time if Josh is ready. We’d definitely put that fight together,” he said. “It’s premature to say without having to talk to the managers and the doctors and see what they say.”
Daley, who has won eight of his last nine bouts overall and is 3-0 under the Bellator banner, could also be in line for a 170-pound title shot against reigning champion Andrey Koreshkov should he dispatch Uhrich. Coker admitted as much while reiterating that everything depends on Koscheck’s ability to heal.
“That’s [a Daley title shot] possible depending on how long Koscheck’s going to be out for,” he said. “We’re going to monitor the situation.”