Sport With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Scott Coker prepared to shift London, Russia Bellator events if necessary
Bellator light heavyweight grand prix semfinals head to Phoenix this October
LOS ANGELES – The Bellator light heavyweight grand prix is set to resume this fall in the desert with the tournament semifinals. Both matchups – champion vs. , and vs. – have been booked for Oct. 16, promotion officials announced…Both matchups – champion Vadim Nemkov vs. Anthony Johnson, and Corey Anderson vs. Ryan Bader – have been booked for Oct. 16, promotion officials announced Saturday.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Following A.J. McKee‘s first-round finish of Patricio Freire in front of a packed house at The Forum for Bellator 263, president Scott Coker showered his new featherweight champion with praise.
During fight week, ahead of the event, Cokerand stick with them as Bellator did with McKee. On Saturday evening, the plan plaid off as McKee won the featherweight grand prix, featherweight title, and a hefty $1 million paycheck.
“That honestly was spectacular,” Coker told MMA Junkie and other reporters at the post-fight news conference at The Forum in Los Angeles. “You guys felt the energy in that room, it was electric in there. It had that big, big-time championship fight feeling and A.J. did his thing, man. He was impressive.”
Bellator 264: Gegard Mousasi vs. John Salter preview and prediction
Preview and prediction for Gegard Mousasi vs. John Salter at Bellator 264. The first title defense in the second Bellator middleweight title reign of Gegard Mousasi will take place in the main event of Bellator 264, as he takes on John Salter. Mousasi reclaimed the championship with a one-side d decision win over then-welterweight champion Douglas Lima at Bellator 250 in October. His first reign began at Bellator 200 in May 2018, just over a year after Mousasi jumped from the UFC to Bellator, with a finish of Rafael Carvalho. Mousasi defended the title against Rory MacDonald before losing it in an upset majority decision to Rafael Lovato Jr.
McKee’s moment was elevated by the fans in attendance at The Forum, something that has been absent from recent Bellator shows dude to the COVID-19 pandemic. Combined with the pre-fight build-up surrounding the event, Coker felt made the entire evening a special moment in the promotion’s history.
However, it’s not lost on Coker that variants of the virus are spreading rapidly, causing a rise in positive tests around the globe. This could jeopardize the promotions plans to hold cards overseasand this October.
“We are monitoring it closely,” Coker said. “When we planned our France event, Paris event last year, when we planned it, it was half-capacity. It was going to have 9 to 10,000 people there and then covid hit and started rising. It was down to 1,000 people by the time we got there, and then the week after nobody was even allowed to come to the country.”
Matheus Mattos ecstatic to put behind boring debut loss with 'beautiful KO' at Bellator 262
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – got his first Bellator win under his belt. The Bellator bantamweight defeated Cee Jay Hamilton via second-round TKO in the main card of Friday's Bellator 262. Mattos (13-2 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) successfully bounced back from a failed Bellator…The Bellator bantamweight defeated Cee Jay Hamilton via second-round TKO in the main card of Friday’s Bellator 262. Mattos (13-2 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) successfully bounced back from a failed Bellator debut last December, coming up short in a decision to Magomed Magomedov.
Two months from now, a lot of things can change with how countries respond to the rising number of cases, but Coker ensures he will keep health and safety in mind while doing everything he can to make sure the fights take place, even if it means moving cards back to the U.S., like Uncasville, Conn., where the promotion has stayed active in a closed arena.
“Hopefully, like in the U.K., it’s fully open, I think they’re 85% vaccinated in the U.K. so I feel good about that event,” Coker said. “In Russia, I know they’re doing what they need to do and my feeling is it will be a full-scale event like this was. Maybe they’ll have some protocols with masks and things like that, but believe me, Viacom is really about protocols and making sure that all of our athletes and staff, the production team are safe, so that’s the number one priority moving forward. If it changes, then we’ll adapt, but right now, it’s full steam ahead.”
'We Know How to Bounce Back.' Sadiq Khan Has a Plan to Build a Greener, Fairer London Post-Pandemic
"For anybody who thinks they’ve got us on the ropes, the history of London is Muhammad Ali, knocking people out"He doesn’t have much time for that. Khan won a second term as mayor in May, just as the city began reopening in earnest after almost five months of lockdown. Like the rest of the world’s large cities, London is reeling from the past 18 months, which have both exacted a heavier immediate toll on urban areas and thrown the chronic problems of big-city life into harsh relief.
“If Russia, they’re on lockdown and covid starts ramping up to where we can’t do it there, then, of course, we’ll find an alternate location.”
Watch the full post-fight press conference with Coker in the video above.MORE:
UFC on ESPN 26 discussion thread .
LAS VEGAS – MMA Junkie is on scene and reporting live from Saturday's UFC on ESPN 26 event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT). You can discuss the event here. Be sure to follow along with the latest card updates in our UFC on ESPN 26 live results post, and then discuss the event in the comments section below. Round-by-round updates and official results begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET for the preliminary card and 10 p.m. ET for the main card.