Scott Coker reflects on 2020

At a Bellator 254 post-fight news conference, CEO Scott Coker talked about a year spent fighting to safely hold events during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The promotion held 15 events post-outbreak, 11 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, three in Milan, Italy, and one in Paris, France.

“I’m proud of my team,” he said “I’m proud of our whole company because this is not an easy task. This is not an easy ask, when you’re asking your staff to stay inside this bubble for 30, 40, 50 days. There were times here where some of our employees were here for that amount of time, not going home. Sometimes the staff would go home, but it was a tough year. This was a grind.”

“This was really a test of character for our staff and the fighters and fighting in a closed environment like this without fans. Look, it is the new norm, but to me, I’m looking forward to getting back and getting back to doing arena fights where we have fans, including here at the Mohegan Sun.”

“Economically, these COVID tests are very expensive. It’s a commitment. I think we’ve had, to date, in the fights that we’ve done since July here at Mohegan Sun building this bubble, 4,800 tests that were either performed on fighters, production staff, or our Bellator staff. It’s quite a process. I think it’s a very safe environment to do these events and that’s why we’re doing them. Protocol is No. 1, but it’s been a grind.”

The number of COVID-19 tests was actually 7,800. But Bellator is undaunted, and plans to return to Mohegan in late January or early Febuary.

“I’m looking forward to starting in 2021 again, most likely in the bubble,” Coker explained. “But I do believe now with some of the breakthroughs and the vaccine and the different types of vaccines and eventually, I think the virus will eventually ween its way out and we’ll be back to business as normal hopefully sometime [in 2021].”

h/t Nolan King for MMA Junkie

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