Bellator MMA President, Scott Coker had a week that went from good to bad with the postponement of Bellator 241 on Friday the 13th. While that date has its own reputation with bad luck, that week started out pretty good for Coker and Bellator MMA. The press conference to announce their spring and summer events kicked off with plenty of trash talk between camps to add to the high profile matches booked.
That was Monday, March 9, March 11 the situation with COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, and by Friday it was just about getting people home safe.
In an interview with DAZN, Coker said, “I feel like this is something I’m responsible for. How would I want to be treated in a sense?” Coker mentioned how the news that week already had people on alert, and that as fight night for Bellator 241 grew closer, he could tell that concerns for safety and being able to get home were growing.
“It seemed like the virus started to affect some of our staff,” Coker said about the days leading to fight night. “What I mean by that is, we had a meeting where I said, ‘Look, if you guys are uncomfortable, you guys can go home.’ Some of our staff wanted to get home and get back with their families, and it started affecting the team.”
With the situation changing as often as numbers of COVID-19 cases around the globe were growing, getting people home safely seemed like the right thing to do. Travel bans were coming and the thing about being one of the world’s top MMA promotions means worrying about fighters and fan travel from all over the world. “We have international fighters,” said Coker, “It started becoming an uncomfortable situation all the way around. We shut it down at that point.”
With the future of events in MMA and all of sports being on hold, Coker also made the right move of paying everyone that was supposed to be paid for Bellator 241, “But not just the fighters, but I’m talking the officials, the cut men, the judges, referees, athletic commissions, the vendors, the event personnel, we paid everybody out.”
Coker was praised for his decision of not only canceling the event but paying the fighters that were supposed to compete on it as well.
“Numbers are numbers, but this is a people business. Business is about people.”Bellator President Scott Coker
Bellator’s next event is scheduled for May 9; hopefully things can get back to normal by then.