Rich Chou, the Bellator matchmaker, recently revealed that Scott Coker is the guy that MMA needs.
“I feel like the sport has stalled a little bit, and just overall, I don’t think we’re seeing the growth that we all anticipated. I feel like this sport needs something different, and that’s what Scott is,” Chou said in a recent interview with MMAjunkie.
Chou, who is with the MMA industry for a decade now, entered the sport when he worked for B.J. Penn’s Rumble on the Rock promotion. After that, he was luckily able to work for a lot of shows that showed promise, like Strikeforce and EliteXC.
After EliteXC ended, Chou opted to surf and work at an apparel company when Bellator’s president, Scott Coker, got in touch with him about Bellator.
Chou recalled what Coker said to him when they talked.
“‘Just hear me out. You’re really not going to believe this, but I’m going to take over Bellator.’”
Over a year after Scott Coker took over the Viacom-owned company, their work didn’t stop there. Just like other companies which survive as a TV product, Bellator had its ups and downs. The promotion company did rose to a new level of success only to go back down to the level where it started.
Chou believes, however, that Bellator’s brand new game plan of using big and bold events will be the key to steer the promotion company into the right direction. It is undeniable that the market today is incredibly geared toward the UFC products, but with Coker’s new strategy, Bellator may just have the chance to put their name back in the game.
“That’s what makes it exciting. (Coker is) always looking to change the game and come up with new ideas. I feel like this is a great situation where you’ve got Scott with the freedom and flexibility to come up with new ideas and Kevin Kay and the rest of the Spike people and Viacom are willing to support him,” Chou said.
Just last Saturday, Bellator hosted something that has never been seen before in the MMA industry. The “Bellator 142: Dynamite” event is a hybrid kickboxing-MMA event that had a ring next to the octagon. This event was held at SAP Center in San Jose.
This was Bellator’s first major attempt to host an event that should be successful it will turn things around for the promotion company.
The event reportedly earned average ratings, which had around 800,000 viewers, even though it had star power. Even with Tito Ortiz, a UFC Hall of Famer and light heavyweight, fighting against Liam McGeary, the event wasn’t able to push past the 1-million-viewer mark.
But for Chou, this step of mixing up in the event is just what the promotion company needed in order to keep the fans watching.
“I think some people are too tied to a system and a structure. Those don’t exist with Scott. Whatever will thrill the fans, whatever will take us to the next level, is an option, and let’s discuss,” he said.