Bellator’s heavyweight division is starting to look pretty damn good. The division’s top fighters include Matt Mitrione, Cheick Kongo, and Roy Nelson, while other stars like Fedor Emelianenko, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, Bobby Lashley, Javy Ayala, and Sergey Kharitonov are also in the mix. Unfortunately, however, the division doesn’t have a champion, and hasn’t since former champ, Vitaly Minakov, was stripped in the midst of a contract dispute. Yet according to Bellator head honcho Scott Coker, that could change in the first quarter of 2018.
“I think that we’ll probably crown a new champion first quarter of next year and then we’ll start having a lot more fights in the heavyweight division,” Coker said on the latest episode of The MMA Hour. “We’ve got some great heavyweights now, there’s a lot of matchups that I can’t wait to see and I’m excited about 2018. I think 2018 is going to be a very busy year, a big growth year for Bellator, and the heavyweight division will be a big part of it.”
Coker then shared the names he believes will be considered when Bellator crowns its heavyweight king.
“I think you can kind of put the names in the mix,” Coker said. “I think of Mitrione, who has a victory over Fedor; I think of Roy Nelson; I think of Cheick Kongo; there’s a lot of guys that I think. Even ‘King Mo,’ [though he lost to Mirko Cro Cop in Rizin last year], but he’s beaten Kongo and he wants to stay at heavyweight.”
Coker also discussed a possible Bellator heavyweight tournament, nostalgically referencing the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix he promoted back in the day.
“It was an amazing tournament, that’s when we had a young Alistair Overeem, a young Fabricio Werdum, Fedor was in his prime. It was just great, great stuff,” Coker said. “We always like doing a lot of fun stuff like that, and who knows? But let’s go crown a champion first and then we’ll go from there.”
Who do you think will emerge the Bellator heavyweight champion? Do you think Scott Coker should promote another tournament?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/25/2017.