At last month's Bellator 244 post-fight press conference, CEO Scott Coker said that with the exit of Jon Jones from the UFC's light heavyweight division, Bellator's top 205ers are superior to the UFC's. A week later at the UFC on ESPN 15 post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White was asked if he had heard Coker's comments.
“I didn’t," said White. “Isn’t he cute? ... Guys, everybody they have in their light heavyweight division we let go of. He’s got the best light heavyweight division? We let those guys all go. It’s like the f***ing dumbest thing I’ve heard, but I get it. He’s got to f***ing do his thing. I’m not s****ing on him. He’s got to try to do his thing. He’s got to try to sell fights. The way you don’t sell fights is, ‘I’ve got the best light heavyweight division in the world.’ Everybody that was there was let go from here. That’s a pretty silly statement. ... What superfight would I make with Bellator?”
At the Bellator announcement about the CBS Sports Network deal, Coker responded to White's response.
“We do have the best 205-pound division on the planet, bar none,” said Coker. “When you think about the fighters that we have, tonight, Phil and Machida, then you have Nemkov. I think Gegard will eventually move up to 205 because he told me he wants to move up to 205. … That group has become a really healthy, robust division for us.
“Ryan Bader and Phil Davis, or anyone that’s come over from the UFC, they’ve come over in free agency. It’s not that they come over here just because they got kicked out. That’s a lie. The truth is they were free agents and they wanted to shop their [value] and we offered them a better deal so they came over here. These guys are prizefighters. This is not something they do just for fun. These are athletes of the highest level and they are prizefighters. If you can come here and you’re going to get a better deal, why wouldn’t you come to Bellator? If you have a better deal there, then stay there and do your thing. As far as being kicked out of certain organizations, that’s a lie.”
“This organization is growing and this organization has resources. You can see with the move to CBS Sports Network and there will be other opportunities for us inside the family of platforms here at this company. To me, we’re going to make the right decisions and keep growing the brand with fighters. We’re a very good star identifier and I think we’re the best at identifying new stars and building new stars and that’s what we’re going to continue to do. Every day when I wake up, we’re not thinking about those guys. We’re thinking about what we’re doing and focused on how we want to grow this product.”
“He’s doing his thing and we’re doing our thing. It is what it is and you know how he is. We’re going to continue down the path and keep doing our thing and at least he didn’t say I was ugly.”