Scott Coker: If Bellator Added 165-Pound Division, Everybody ‘Has To Do It’
After the Bellator 286 press conference, company head Scott Coker revealed the only method he’ll introduce a 165-pound division to Bellator.
The Unified Rules of MMA have standardized the current MMA categories. The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board established the divisions in April 2001. Since then, most athletic commissions have approved the Unified Rules, and in 2009, the Association of Boxing Commissions confirmed them.
Over the years, many have voiced worries about gaps between various sections, noting concerns about weight loss.
To ease these worries, the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) ratified four new divisions in 2017: 165, 175, 195 and 225.
None of these, however, have been used by significant promotions. Only King of the Cage and Eagle FC use the term “super-lightweight” or “light-welterweight” when referring to 165 pounds.
Numerous athletes from all promotions have wished for the 165-pound class to be used more frequently.
In 2018, there was a surge in 165-pound division rumors around the UFC.
Josh Thompson wanted to change 125 pounds for 165 pounds, but Joe Rogan indicated that wouldn’t be possible without also upping welterweight to 175 pounds.
Rafael Dos Anjos and Kevin Lee expressed support for such a division in the same year. A few weeks later, Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz III was promoted as the starting point for such a division. Dustin Poirier recently demanded the category be added.
Dana White, however, has repeatedly tried to end these attempts.
White contends that it will just be populated 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… It ain’t happening while I’m here.”
White and Coker seem to think similarly, but for different reasons.
“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?”
Coker isn’t fundamentally against a new division, even though it is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Bellator does not currently have a 125 lb division, so having another title match to count on would improve their strength of schedule. However, Bellator would suffer twice as much from 155 or 170 dilutions as the UFC.
“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,” he added.