Bellator CEO Scott Coker is seriously considering hosting a 205lb grand-prix in 2021 and he’s dropping some big hints that their two big new recruits from the UFC, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson and Yoel Romero may well end up squaring off against each other in their promotional debuts to kick off the tournament.
“We just threw out a lot of hypotheticals but, let’s just face it, that’s the fight the fans want to see,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “And my philosophy has always been if the fight is there and you can make the fight, you always make the fight because there’s no guarantee that fight is gonna be there in six months or a year. It just seems like that fight has a lot of heat on it, and I’m not saying it’s gonna happen, but we’ll definitely have a serious conversation about it at some point.”
Romero has also stated that he’s “90% certain” that he’ll fight Johnson in his first Bellator outing, but Johnson seems less committed to the idea.
“I do believe eventually it will happen,” Johnson told MMAjunkie. “… I think it’ll be maybe (my) second, maybe (my) third fight. … I was surprised when I saw what he said. The whole 90 percent thing threw me for a spin because I was like, ‘Nobody said nothing to me. I’ve seen your name more on my Instagram than on a contract.’ You know what I’m saying?
“I don’t know what he’s been told. I don’t know what he’s trying to do. I understand promoting and hype, but I don’t know about that 90 percent thing. Honestly, I haven’t been presented anything. It is what it is. Both of us are high-caliber fighters. All I can say is I respect him, and I wish him the best in the organization. We’re going to have a lot of fun here. Let’s make the best of this whole situation we’re in.”
It should also be noted that the 205lb grand-prix isn’t 100% locked in just yet, but from the sound of things Coker is quickly warming up to the idea after initially weighing up the possibility of doing one in different weight classes first.
“It would be quite a tournament, and that’s something that’s under consideration,” Coker said. “Originally, we were thinking about the 135 (division), with the addition of Magomed Magomedov, and we still have (Juan) Archuleta out there. We were gonna invite (Kyoji) Horiguchi to fight, or (Kai) Asakura, whoever wins the (fight) in Japan, to come and enter this tournament.
“We talked about the women’s division – we still have some great talent there – and now we’re talking about the 205 (division). It’s definitely in the conversation, but we just haven’t decided. But that’s something we’ll figure out in the next 20 days, and we’ll be locked and loaded and ready to go.”