If Dana White is MMA’s version of Vince McMahon, then Scott Coker must surely be it’s equivalent of Paul Heyman. While they may not be as financially successful as some of their more fortunate counterparts have been, each man is as savvy in the art of drawing a crowd as any other could hope to be, and each man has left an undeniable and pivotal mark on their respective industries.
The aftershock of the labors and efforts put forth by Coker can still be seen rippling through the relevant landscape of the UFC, the company that ultimately put his pet promotion down permanently. Despite being victimized by the realities of business, the concepts and and developed talent that were eventually assimilated into the UFC after the demise of Strikeforce has led to something of a boom period for the surviving party.
How so? Well, Coker was the guy with the foresight to stick with WMMA and gets the honor of being the first to peg Ronda Rousey as a future superstar. The man appears to have known what was coming before even the Olympic Bronze medalist herself did, and now she and the UFC are cashing in tremendously together.
Along with the aforementioned Ronda Rousey, maybe the greatest superstar in the business today, Zuffa inherited Fabricio Werdum, the new heavyweight champion of the world, Daniel Cormier, their current light heavyweight champion, Luke Rockhold, a man challenging for the UFC’s middleweight strap in December, and many other worthy and capable employees in the aftermath of Strikeforce’s death. Basically, Coker assembled and groomed a major portion of today’s stars and now the UFC gets to reap the rewards of all of his toils.
That’s a legacy to be proud of. History won’t remember Coker only as a man who lost his promotional war after putting forth a valiant underdog effort against a much larger foe, but also as a creator who’s inventions, though martyred, helped to build a brighter future for the entire sport of MMA. That’s enough for any man, ambitious or otherwise, to hang his hat on and call it day. There was no reason for Coker to do anything other than rest on his laurels and not a soul would’ve blamed him had that been his decision.
Fortunately for us, however, Scott Coker is insane.
Upon being released from contractually mandated captivity with Zuffa, the apparently unsatisfied Coker returned almost immediately to his former role as the front man of a major MMA promotion and, buddy, things got wild fast.
The very moment it was announced that Scott Coker had agreed to replace the deposed Bjorn Rebney as the main man in charge of the Viacom owned, yet under-utilized Bellator MMA, anyone with a passion for MMA knew what it meant: craziness, unpredictability, logic defying matchmaking, enthusiasm, and above all else, an enormous amount of fun should be expected shortly thereafter. This is, after all, Scott Coker we’re talking about here. The guy who talked Herschel Walker into the cage and convinced Frank Shamrock that it was a good idea to fight Nick Diaz…
We got all of that and more with the inception of Coker’s “tent pole” events. Instead of weekly tournaments that were saturating Spike TV’s Friday night airwaves and leaving Bellator’s fans overwhelmed and burnt out, we now get regular helpings of Tito Ortiz and even a showdown between Kimbo friggin Slice and Ken friggin Shamrock. Ridiculous? Of course it is….but then again, you watched anyway (you know you did!) so, in the end, does the absurdity really matter?
Its as if MMA’s resident Dr. Frankenstein has been provided with a brand new batch of freshly exhumed tissue and has been let loose in a once shuttered laboratory so that he may continue constructing his mad creations. Only in this instance, our fight obsessed Frankenstein is armed with the experiences gained from the downfall of his last monster and is being funded by an entity that possesses a willingness to allow his experiments to be drawn out to an inevitable conclusion. And, more importantly, enjoys access to black hole deep pockets. A dream partner worthy of any creative genius/lunatic’s respect.
So far the only thing of note that has been churned out and produced by Coker’s lab have been the “tent pole” events. Valuable minions meant to serve the greater good, but insignificant when compared to the creature that remains shrouded on the table waiting to be resurrected. A creature that, if pieced and stitched properly, will attempt to overshadow and dwarf any that has come before it as it searches for a glory and reverence equal to what it once enjoyed in its native land across the Pacific.
On September 19, 2015, live in front of a Spike TV audience, Scott Coker will flip the final switch and unleash Dynamite! back into existence. Its hard to grasp it all with just a single glance, but if taken in part-by-part, the sum total of this beast is clearly intriguing on multiple levels of both refinement and sheer audacity.
This hybrid monster will walk on a Glory kickboxer’s legs, throw punches with a Strikeforce donated elbow and fist, and show off a Japanese NYE show’s level of endurance as it goes 20 fights deep, one night tournament included. It will speak with the aura of a former UFC champ seeking further fame in the sport and shriek with the piercing ferocity of Lenne Hardt as it climbs and leaps from cage to ring and then back again. Lastly, for its final feat, it will raise a Bellator manufactured arm with matching Bellator world title gold, just as its crazed creator intends for it to do.
Seriously, who else on the this side of the planet would have even conceived of attempting this insanity, let alone actually convince a massive, global company to give it the green light? I’m sure there are a few people naive enough to try if given the opportunity, but Coker is the only nut job among us that can actually pull this off, and frankly, God bless him for it. This is precisely what MMA needs and has been lacking for quite some time now.
As beloved as Ultimate Fighting Championship has become, the promotion can be equally tiresome to those who pay meticulous attention to the MMA industry. No one can deny the entertainment of their product when it is at its peak, but some of the policies and decisions made by the company concerning manners outside of the Octagon have incubated a certain degree of bitterness within the hearts of hardcore fans. Business has begun to come first for the UFC more and more over the years and that fact can oftentimes leave an underlying tone of resentment from fans towards some of their events.
None of that nonsense with Dynamite!, though. Sure, some of the card is based on zero logic, but most of it is quite credible as far as competition is concerned, and every ounce of it is designed for maximum entertainment value. No politics here.
This gem of a card is a cornucopia of amusement. A feast of fistic entrees, if you will, sprinkled with just enough Coker dust to bring out all of the potential flavor. Its like the Lost Boys’ dinner table from “Hook” and the epic Never Never Land multi-colored food fight is about to begin (If you didn’t grow up in the 90’s, look that shit up).
Something similar hasn’t been witnessed on a large scale in the world of MMA for years now, and never in this hemisphere. With Coker once again on the loose, however, expect this kind of extravaganza to become the norm on the North American scene. If Dynamite! is a success, and it very likely will be, it will almost certainly become an annual calling card for Bellator and be the feather in Scott Coker’s cap. If, of course, Coker wore a feathered cap, which I’ve never seen him do. But yeah, you get the damn point…
Better yet for Coker and crew, events of this type are basically assured to remain unique to Bellator for the foreseeable future. Imagine “The NFL of MMA” trying to peddle this show? Can you do it without laughing? Doubtful….Dana White would drown in a torrential storm of heckles and jeers if he stood in front of some Las Vegan podium and announced an intention to co-promote with a kickboxing company while also handing Tito Ortiz a title shot. The outcry would be as thunderous as it would be deserved. Even the Culinary Union would advise White and the Fertittas to avoid the move.
Scott Coker, on the other hand, can glide right on up to a microphone, tell the world his plans to reenlist the nastiest freak on the freak show curb and everyone who tunes in will love every second, and no one bats an eye. Hell, its expected at this point in the game. We just laugh, put our heads in our hands for a moment of reflection, and then brace ourselves for the chaos.
We accept this double standard because, as previously noted, we accept that Scott Coker is insane. His nonsensical methods have never let us down before, though, even when we had no clue where to begin when attempting to understand the logic behind their conception. Why bother questioning the man now?
These are just the facts of life in the world of MMA. Scott Coker is a lunatic, his latest exploit is the most bat shit crazy addition to a resume that already reeks of bat shit craziness, and you are crazier than he is if you don’t already love the man for it.