Bellator Grand Prix Semis Could Land In NYC, LA, Or CHI
With only one fight remaining in the first round of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, Bellator President Scott Coker claims the future of the tournament depends on who wins at Bellator 199 on May 12th.
Coker told MMA Fighting on Thursday that depending if Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader or his opponent King Mo walk out the winner at the SAP Arena, in San Jose, the tournament’s semi-finals can come in late August or September.
The winner of that fight would be set to face Matt Mitrione, as Fedor Emelianenko will take on Chael Sonnen in the penultimate round of the tournament to crown a new heavyweight champion.
Coker told MMA Fighting that nothing is finalized yet for the second round, and the two fights may take place on adjacent weekends.
“If it’s not on the same night, we will make sure that it’s close in proximity of time,” Coker said.
“Because we want to make sure both fighters have the same amount of rest time. For instance, if we go on a date on a Saturday, if it’s not both on the same card, the following Saturday we might have the other semifinal. Just to make sure there’s not this disparity of one fighter had three months to rest and one fighter had two months to rest. We want to make it as fair as we can.”
Bellator is looking to have the tournament’s final fight, either at the end of this year or early 2019.
Per Coker, Bellator is in the midst of landing the sites for the semi-finals, with New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago at the top of the list.
“We’re talking to several venues around the country,” Coker said. “I think it makes a lot of sense to have those fights either on the East Coast or the West Coast. … Maybe we take that Fedor fight back to Chicago, because man they really love him there.”
“I think it’s gonna be a big event for us, a big event for the company,” Coker said. “I think it’s gonna be another fight where we’ll deliver great ratings, great digital numbers. I think it’s gonna be a big piece of business for us.”
When asked if the Sonnen-Fedor fight could be the biggest fight in Bellator history, Coker left the idea open.
“Could be,” he said. “It could be. I wish Fedor was here training and living in the states and we could have access to him more. But Chael, he can promote unlike anybody I’ve ever seen. And he loves it. So, we’re gonna give him every opportunity to let him have a mic whenever he wants and we’re gonna pump this fight really hard.”