Bellator and UFC were set to go head-to-head on January 26 in California. Bellator was set to take place in Inglewood while UFC was set to take place in Anaheim. And, because of that, both promotions were set to put on stacked cards, with Bellator having the Heavyweight Grand Prix final, Gegard Mousasi defending his title and rising superstar Aaron Pico fighting.
Meanwhile, the orginial plan was for the UFC to have TJ Dillashaw vs Henry Cejudo for the flyweight title, with Dominick Cruz, Ben Askren and several other high profile names on the card. Ultimately, the UFC put Dillashaw vs Cejudo on the Brooklyn card and then could not find a main event for UFC 233.
In the end, the UFC decided to cancel the card, meaning all eyes will be on Bellator that night. That is something Coker is very excited about. It is also another step in the right direction for the promotion.
“Listen, everybody has a business to run,” Scott Coker said at the post-fight press conference. “They have a business to run, and we have a business to run. We’ve been going on that date for the last three years or however long, so everybody knows we’re going to go on that date. It didn’t work out for them, you know, because I think… To me it’s a roster issue. Who’s going to fight [in the main event]? And if you’re going to bring somebody in against the Fedor [Emelianenko] – [Ryan] Bader card, and ours is free on Paramount and on DAZN and you’re going to run on pay-per-view, you better have your A-game. And you know what? I think they just ran out of bullets.
“So here we are,” Scott Coker continued. “This is not the first time. This is I think the second, maybe even the third time this has happened on that weekend. It is what it is. And for the most part, I just feel like we’ve got to focus on our business and just keep running. But we have a great card on that date.”
Ultimately, Bellator does have a great card on that date. Even after a subtle jab on Twitter, Coker knew Bellator would have won that night anyway. Now, they don’t have to worry about going up with the UFC. Southern California and January 26th is all Bellator.