Coker explains why Larkin is an alternate in WW Grand Prix

Friday, August 10, 2018

Bellator CEO Scott Coker puts on the best tournaments in mixed martial arts. His latest is the 2018 Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix, which will stream live and exclusively on DAZN:
•Douglas Lima vs. Andrey Koreshkov, a former champions trilogy fight at Bellator 206 on September 19;
•Paul 'Semtex' Daley vs. Michael 'Venom' Page, a we're English and hate each other a lot fight;
•Neiman Gracie vs. Ed Ruth, in an undefeated BJJ vs. wrestling fight; and,
•Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald vs. former World Series of Fighting champion Jon Fitch.
•Lorenz Larkin vs. undefeated Yaroslav Amosov, in an alternate bout.

Larkin was a high-profile signing, having gone 4-1 his last five in the UFC. However, he lost a title fight in his Bellator debut and then was knocked out by Paul Daley. Larkin bounced back with a decision win over Fernando Gonzalez. His inclusion in the tournament only as an alternate was interpreted by some as a sign that Bellator is not impressed with Larkin. However, president Scott Coker explains to Dave Doyle for MMA Fighting that it was simply a matter of logistics.

Daley vs. Page is hugely anticipated. Gracie vs. Ruth is the sort of style vs. style fight that the sport was born from. Lima decisioned Larkin just a year ago. And MacDonald has a superfight vs. middleweight champ Gegard Mousasi.

“Lorenz wanted to be a part of the tournament and he wanted to fight as soon as possible,” said Coker. “He hasn’t fought since January, and this was the quickest way to get him back into action.”

“Daniel Cormier was our second alternate in the Strikeforce tourney in 2011. And he gets in and defeats Bigfoot Silva and Josh Barnett and wins the whole thing. So yeah, don’t read too much into Lorenz as an alternate. You’ve got a lot of things to juggle putting together a tournament and this was the best way to get him in the mix and get him into a fight soon. We’re as glad to have him on board as we’ve always been.”