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Scott Coker: We’ll give Ryan Bader leeway to defend both titles

Esther Lin - MMA Fighting

On Saturday night, Bellator light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader won the heavyweight strap off a quick KO of Fedor Emelianenko, becoming the first Bellator double champ. And while the UFC has established a modus operandi of stripping one belt or the other once they need it for a PPV main event, Bellator will apparently be doing things differently.

Scott Coker discussed the situation following Bellator 214 and he deferred the decision on a light heavyweight vs heavyweight defense next to his new champ champ.

”That’s going to be up to Ryan because as long as we don’t have the light heavyweight division being jammed up,” Coker said. “Let’s say for instance, if Gegard [Mousasi] eventually moves up ... so long as those fights aren’t right down the road for him, we’ll give him a little bit of leeway to say hey, if you want to defend the heavyweight [title], you can do it. And he can go back and forth. But eventually there will be a bottleneck at some point, and then we’ll all just make a business decision.”

As for the quick win over Emelianenko solidifying Bader as one of the best?

”He’s gotta be up there in the top two or three, in my opinion,” Coker said. “The guy is dangerous. I’m not even sure if I’m imagining it, but it seems like he’s becoming a better and better striker. Because the go to move was always go for the takedown, go for the shoot. Ground and pound. But now, the King Mo stoppage and this [Fedor] stoppage. I think he was setting up what he hit him with and he caught him and that was it. These guys are big strong men and one punch and it’s over.”

Many people called for Emelianenko to retire after Bader took him out just 35 seconds into their fight. Coker disagreed with that sentiment but did note Fedor certainly doesn’t need to keep competing.

”Fedor, he doesn’t have to fight again,” he said. He’s already done it all. To me he’s the greatest heavyweight of all time, he’s had such a great run. But really, it’s going to be up to him when he decides to finally put it to rest.”

If he does continue, his next fight could be outside Bellator. Coker confirmed Saturday’s fight with Bader was the last on their contract with Emelianenko.

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