Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has not been shy about wanting to put their lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez, up against Strikeforce’s lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez. Strikeforce’s Scott Coker addressed Rebney’s challenge at their last show, but only said they were open to it later this year if the deal was right. Well, yesterday, Coker appeared on MMA Fighting’s The MMA Hour, and host Ariel Helwani got him to elaborate a little more on the potential lightweight title clash.
“We actually talked, probably about a week ago, and we had a nice conversation. It’s the first time I’ve ever spoken to him. [Rebney] seems like a good guy, and I wish him luck in what he’s doing,” Coker said.
“I said, ‘Look, the situation with Gilbert is he broke his hand in his last fight, so he’s out right now. He’s going to be out, probably until the fall. So this is something we can readdress. We are open to fighting other fighters in other leagues.”
“Doing co-promotions and fighting other fighters from other leagues is never going to be an issue. It just a matter of how do we do it? What’s the deal?”
“We’ll sit down and give it a shot. I would love to see that fight between Eddie and Gilbert.”
Sweet, right? All they have to do is agree on a time, place and money and we have ourselves a lightweight super showdown. Oh wait, Scott Coker reminds us there’s a lot more to it than that.
“It comes down to details, like, after the fight’s over, who owns the intellectual property rights? Is it them? Is it us? Do we co-share it? There’s a tremendous amount of points to be negotiated,” Coker said.
“And then is it on our broadcast platform? Is it on their broadcast platform? What rights are we going to retain? What rights are they going to retain? What if he wins the title? Is there an automatic rematch clause? It just goes on and on and on. But you know what? We got it done with the Fedor piece, and so I feel like we can do it with anybody.”
That’s the thing with co-promoting. In theory, it’s the perfect solution to putting on the best fights, but in reality, it’s often a nightmarish process that has the potential to end in discontent (see Strikeforce/M-1) or worse, a legal battle (see Afflicition/M-1). But hey, Coker’s right, if they can do it (twice) with M-1, they can certainly do it with Bellator.