Bellator has found itself having to make some pretty questionable moral decisions in their quest to become legit competition to the UFC. The Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 fight sure did pop the ratings, but Dada 5000 almost died in the cage as a result. And when there weren’t enough heavyweights for the Bellator heavyweight grand prix, the promotion decided to throw some light heavyweights and middleweights names in the mix. That’s all well and good ... unless a middleweight ends up getting seriously hurt by one of the massive real heavyweights.
And in the latest example of Bellator doing whatever it takes to get a bit of an edge, we’ve got them booking Mirko Crocop vs. Roy Nelson at Bellator 200 in May. This will be Crocop’s first fight outside of Japan since he was suspended by USADA over human growth hormone injections, a suspension that still sits unserved by the Croatian legend.
Now obviously Bellator wants to use every single star they can get their hands on. But at the same time, do they really want to be known as a promotion that ignores USADA suspensions for performance enhancing drugs? MMANYTT talked to Bellator president Scott Coker, who tried his best to act clueless about the controversy surrounding Crocop.
”Why didn’t they go after them two years ago when he fought for RIZIN?” Coker asked. “Why is this a question? Is this just popping up because he’s fighting for Bellator at our two hundredth event? If you wanted to take action, you should’ve taken action a long time ago.”
“When we booked him we didn’t even know there were going to be any issues. He’s already fighting so we thought he was going to be able to fight.”
We find it hard to believe that Scott Coker wasn’t aware of the outstanding USADA suspension Mirko has hovering over his career. What’s more likely is that Crocop got the call for Bellator 200 in London specifically because it was an unregulated region where he could fight without too many questions.
Of course, there are going to be some questions, but as far as Coker is concerned they’re being fueled by pro-UFC, anti-Bellator sentiment.
“Listen, USADA works with the UFC, they’re doing their own thing, so good for them, go do it,” he said. “I just feel like the timing of it is, you know, it’s little bit questionable.”