Scott Coker, the only MMA executive with a Schedule II narcotic in his name, says his organization would pass a surprise urine test for theatrics. That pushing business between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar at Bellator 123 was real. No, it wasn’t some WWE hype-job, despite Bonnar bringing along an actual masked man. And it certainly wasn’t the failed infant doppelganger of the brawl between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. No, according to Coker, it was a serious and perplexing display of raw adult emotion.
“What you saw out there, I think, was serious heated emotion. I know Justin McCully. I don’t know what he means to Tito Ortiz. I don’t what happened, but obviously there’s some bad blood there between those two. And hence the mask. At first, I thought I was at a Japanese pro-wrestling event or something.
I told Tito and Justin, ‘Calm down.’ I don’t know what the beef is, but they definitely have some beef. Tito was steaming. Even when he left, he was still pretty riled up. So it’s going to be interesting that Saturday night (at Bellator 131).”
Yes, Scott. Hence, the mask. After all, when you have harbored years of mysterious resentment towards another person, it is natural to put a mask on before you confront them. That’s why it is standard strategy during divorce proceedings and during high-level business acquisitions. In works of science fiction. Of course, in real life, masks are usually employed in professional wrestling. But that’s a happy accident. Because this was real.
Did this spontaneous emotional display by two grown adults in the twilight of their careers really catch Coker off guard? I suppose it doesn’t matter. But the bigger question these days is whether it’s even possible any more for an organization to survive while relying solely on the entertainment value of its actual athletic talent. The answer appears to be no. And so, every pushing match must be upstaged by the rival organization, until Ronda Rousey is pulling a beating heart from the chest of Bethe Correia at a charity auction. So real or not, we may have a real problem. Either that, or MMA is getting really awesome. I guess it depends on your perspective.