Several weeks ago, Scott Cokerís contract with UFC parent Zuffa came to an end, freeing the longtime promoter to pursue other interests.
Right now, however, those interests are not related to MMA. The former Strikeforce head, who in 2011 sold his promotion to UFC parent company Zuffa, told MMAjunkie he plans to travel and see what the world has to offer before even considering a jump back into MMA.
ďThe phoneís been ringing, but Iím not going to take something thatís just out there because I feel like I have to do it,Ē Coker said. ďIt has to be the right deal, and it has to be the right deal for me, because I think I could bring a lot of value to a company. Iím not in a hurry.Ē
Coker inked a three-year contract to work for Zuffa as part of the industry-leaderís buyout of Strikeforce, which came at reported price tag of $40 million. Initially, he continued to represent the promotion at events before stepping behind the scenes in 2012. Zuffa folded Strikeforce in January 2013 and absorbed its fighter roster into the UFC.
Cokerís contract does not contain a non-compete clause, meaning he isnít restricted from promoting MMA.
The end of Strikeforce as an independent organization helped push Bellator into the de facto No. 2 position behind the UFC while also creating a perception that the industry-leader was closer than ever to a monopoly. In fact, the sale of the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion was the catalyst for an FTC investigation.
The government in early 2012 ruled that Zuffaís role in the MMA industry did not meet the standard of a monopoly.
In its heyday, the promotion Coker started as a kickboxing showcase broke the North American attendance record for MMA and drew over one million viewers as a Showtime property. It spawned the careers of several current UFC stars, including Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo ďJacareĒ Souza and Tarec Saffiedine.
Although the Zuffa buyout didnít come without a certain amount of bittersweet feelings, Coker feels positive about his time with the industry-leader.
ďMy tenure with the UFC is completed, and I will say this, everything they said they were going to do, they did,Ē he said. ďI have a lot of friends there that I developed over the last three years, and I wish them luck and much success.Ē
As to whether he still has the passion to work in MMA, Coker insists his love for the sport remains strong. But he also is realistic about the investment needed to run a successful promotion, which is why the urgency to return to his old job isnít there at the moment.
ďI think my track record not just in MMA but martial arts, Iíve proven that Iíve contributed a lot of my life to it,Ē he said. ďIíve sacrificed a lot, and so yes, I still love martial arts. Itís something I still have passion for.
ďBut the other side of it is itís a very time consuming proposition when youíre in this business, and itís draining and it affects everything from your household to your family. Itís a business that when youíre in it, itís a 24/7 business. Thereís really no time off, and from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, youíve got to be in the zone to run your company. So thereís a lot of sacrifice.