Speaking to the media following Bellator 286, Scott Coker shared the only way he’ll add a 165lb division to Bellator.
It’s important to note that the current MMA divisions are standardized by the Unified Rules of MMA. The divisions were originally set by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board in April 2001. Since then, the Unified Rules have been adopted by most athletic commissions and ratified by the Association of Boxing Commissions in 2009.
Many have raised issues with gaps between some divisions over the years, citing weight-cutting concerns. The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) ratified four new divisions (165, 175, 195, 225) in 2017 in efforts to address these concerns. However, none of these have been adopted by major promotions. Only King of the Cage and Eagle FC have adopted 165lbs, calling it super-lightweight or light-welterweight.
Fighters Across The Sport Call For 165lb Division To Be Added
Many fighters across all promotions have voiced their desire to see a 165lb division more widely implemented. 2018 saw rumors of a 165lb division in the UFC reaching a fever pitch. Josh Thompson had claimed the promotion wanted to swap 125 for 165, which Joe Rogan said would not happen without also moving welterweight to 175.
That same year, Rafael Dos Anjos and Kevin Lee both vocalized support for such a division. Mere weeks later, Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz III was touted as the spearhead for such a division. Most recently, Dustin Poirier called for the division to be added.
However, Dana White has quashed these pushes time and again, and raises a good point against it. White argues that it will simply be filled with fighters who “…know they can’t win at either 170 or 155 that would all jump ship… you build the ’65-pound division, you completely drain both [155 adn 165]… It ain’t happening while I’m here.”
Scott Coker Shares Only Way He’ll Add 165lb Division To Bellator
Scott Coker seems to be of a similar mind to Dana White, albeit for different reasons. When asked by media following Bellator 286 whether we could see Bellator as a pioneer at 165lb, Coker answered in the negative, at least for now.
“If the whole industry got together and said ‘Look, we’d be better off having more weight classes, or changing the weight classes’, I think everybody has to do it. Not just us, but I think that the UFC would have to do it. We would have to do it. ONE FC would have to do it. Rizin might have to do it. It’s not fair for the athletes who fight… in one weight class here, and then he goes over there and it’s a different weight class.
“I think it should be some type of symmetry, among all the organizations. So, if that’s possible… and let’s say, bought on by the athletic commissions? Right? If that was a real thing? Yeah, we would support it, why not?”
So, while unlikely to happen any time soon, Coker isn’t fundamentally opposed to an additional division. As it stands, Bellator lacks a 125lb division and an additional title fight to rely on would help bolster their strength of schedule. However, any dilution of 155 or 170 that the UFC would face would be twice as bad in Bellator. Coker also shared his personal opinion on the matter.
“To me, sometimes I think the weight classes are too big of a difference. A 10lb gap… is a lot of weight. In boxing, you have three divisions in that 10lb gap. So, you know, it’s something to think about for the future.”
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