Scott Coker knows how to run a fight company. He’s one of those bosses that every fighter seems to love. He used to fight (kinda), he’s fair and he’s a guy that looks like he gives a good hug. All important attributes for leading a fighting promotion to the next level. Now, he’s dealing with the fallout from the Reebok deal, which is bumming out the pockets of the vast majority of UFC fighters as they see their pay slashed.
After taxes, manager, gym fees, living… A lowly 8/8 fighter with less than five fights is likely bringing home $4-5K a fight, so every three months. Welcome to the Super Bowl of fights, people. Naturally, Scott Coker’s phone has been ringing. Luke Thomas got the interview.
I think that people really have to take a step back and understand that this is a business that everybody here’s trying to run. The UFC is a business. Bellator is a business. Both of these are businesses and just like the fighters – they’re a business of their own, a brand business. I think the UFC felt that was the number that made it work for everybody.
I think for the fighters, from what I’m reading, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but at the end of the day, I think UFC had to do what they had to do.
I think there’s been some situations that have been explained to me where fighters were making $50-60,000 a fight from all their sponsors [are] now making $10,000 or $15,000 or $20,000. You’d have to talk to UFC to see how they’re going to handle that situation, but I’m sure they’re going to do something. The fighters are not going to be happy if it’s taking out $150-$200,000 a year in sponsorships from their pocket.
I think they’re going to have a situation on their hands that they’re going to have to deal with.
I will tell you this, the phone’s been ringing. I just tell people, ‘Listen. We’re not going to engage in any kind of dialogue with you on any level unless you’re a free agent. When you’re free, give me a call.’
Managers and fighters. A lot of questions are, ‘What’s your policy on sponsorships?’ I say, ‘Look, I can’t engage in any kind of conversation with you guys. When you’re free, give me a call.’ But the phone’s definitely been ringing.
LT: Stated plainly, then, is what the UFC’s doing good for Bellator or not?
SC: I think time will tell. I think it depends on a couple of things and one is how the UFC will take care of the fighters that are losing money on the deal. It’ll depend, but all I can say is, I can’t speak for their business because that’s their business. I can only speak to, ‘Hey, we’re open for business. If you’re a free agent, give us a call.’ If there’s a fit, there’s a fit, but trying to analyze their business or think about their corporate strategy, I’m just thinking about our strategy. My philosophy is there’s going to be more room than for just one player. I think that in the 11 months I’ve been here, I think we’ve done some great work. We’ve done some fun stuff. I’m excited about the next three years or four years that we’re going to build this brand and put on great fights and drive TV ratings and put butts in seats. That’s the business we’re in. That’s my comment on that.