At today’s Bellator 277, 279 media event in Los Angeles, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker had taken questions from the media about their upcoming events for the Spring and Summer of this year. Some of those questions were about what lies ahead for Bellator’s plans on expansion and co-promoting with the RIZIN Fighting Federation again.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a similar press conference was held in New York City where Bellator’s best-laid plans were derailed in the same week, but that was then and this is now. Now, Coker revealed that Bellator plans on going to Brazil. When asked specifically about Brazil, given the number of Brazilian fighters on the Bellator MMA roster, Coker said, “Yes, more news coming.”
The other welcome news that MMA fans loved hearing from Coker was that he plans on meeting with RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara when Bellator goes to Hawaii for Bellator 278/279. “ He’s (Sakakibara) someone that I’ve known since he had Pride and I had Strikeforce, and we used to send fighters back and forth. So, there’s a certain amount of trust there and once a year, we talk about doing something big, and I think we’re going to try our best and make it happen.”
In a press release from the RIZIN Fighting Federation last month on their April events, Sakakibara said, “Starting in April, we hope to bring in more international fighters to boost the roster.” And added, “There are still many restrictions, but slowly we want to add more international fighters.”
It seems like both Bellator and RIZIN are ramping things up as we move through the first quarter of 2022. Bellator 277, 278, and 279 are in April and RIZIN TRIGGER 3rd and RIZIN 35 are also back to back ( April 16 and 17) in the same month.
Co-promoting is rare in MMA, very rare but when it happens it opens doors to some fantastic possibilities and it’s nice to see Coker and Sakakibara can work well together. Hopefully, the trend catches on as MMA grows.