Scott Coker doesn’t have any intention of letting Cris Cyborg slip away if he can help it.
Cyborg is one of the most accomplished fighters in MMA history, and the current Bellator women’s featherweight champion. However, her contract with the promotion recently expired, meaning that soon, she will once again become one of the biggest free agents in the sport.
Coker is hopeful it will not happen, as the promotion still seems very interested in her.
“She’s actually in the matching period of her contract, but she and I have a very good relationship, and I told her, ‘Go train and do your fight and [everything] during this period of time, and when you come back from Brazil, let’s sit down and make a deal,'” Coker told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. She is on my list, I have no intention of excluding her from our roster. We just have to agree to the terms.
“That’s something I feel we will get done when she gets back from Brazil, I think in the middle of the month. However, I believe the relationship between us is strong and will continue to be involved in the Cyborg industry for many more years .”
Cyborg has been similarly complimentary of Bellator. Arriving in the organization in 2020, she’s been fairly active, winning the title from Julia Budd in her debut and defending it four times.
But with only six women at its featherweight division , Cyborg was forced to defend her title in a rematch. This raises the possibility of them offering new matches. There’s the oft-discussed bout with Cat Zingano, but with Cyborg wanting to fight three times a year, it may be hard for Bellator to fill that request.
For his part, Coker acknowledges the leanness at featherweight is a real problem, but with Cyborg making her professional boxing debut earlier this month and stating an interest in continuing pursuing that avenue as well, the Bellator CEO believes he and Cyborg can come to an agreement that will best serve her interests.
“There’s a couple girls out there, Leah McCourt being one, but in the past we’ve had to revisit some fights and run it back,” Coker said when asked about rematches for Cyborg. “When you look at Arlene Blencowe’s fight against Cyborg, the second fight was really good, better than the first fight. I think there may be rematches. … There’s Amanda Nunes and the UFC, there’s Kayla [Harrison], there’s Cyborg, and then there’s a handful of girls, but it’s not a weight class where there’s a lot of really high, high-level, like 20 fighters sitting out there waiting to step up. It’s a handful of girls that can really fight at this level.
“It is hard, but she seems to like boxing and wants to keep on boxing. At some point, we’ll sit down and have that conversation, but to me if she wants to box and fight MMA, I think we can keep her busy in both of those arenas where it would be worth it to her.”
Lacking exclusivity has become a selling point for Bellator. The organization co-promoted cards with RIZIN in the past. Recently, Coker permitted Michael “Venom”, Page, to take on Mike Perry at BKFC. The PFL is open to promotion with Bellator in order to produce the highly-anticipated superfight between Cyborg & Kayla Harrison. Perhaps Coker will be able to offer Cyborg the most favorable deal for her final combat sports career.