While the potential for a lightweight clash between Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez and Bellator champ Eddie Alvarez still lingers, there hasn’t been much movement on it. Melendez, Alvarez and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney have all expressed a ton of interest in booking the fight, but Rebney doesn’t think Scott Coker shares their enthusiasm.
Well, yesterday on The MMA Hour, Ariel Helwani had both Eddie Alvarez and Scott Coker on as guests, and rather than beat around the bush, Helwani put them on the line together and let Alvarez ask Coker what the deal is. The conversation as transcribed by MiddleEasy:
“Scott, It seems as though your lightweight champion keeps on calling me out on every interview and I have no problem with that. I’ve never said anything about the kid and I would never say anything at all. Never even approached anybody about fighting Gilbert Melendez. He just doesn’t shut up, every other interview he’s talking about fighting me ‘Oh I want to fight Eddie Alvarez, I want to fight Eddie Alvarez’ and it really makes me look bad because I see it [the interview] the next day later. So Bjorn says it’s OK, I say it’s OK, Gilbert is telling the world that he wants to fight me. I assume you’re the only one left to agree.”
“First of all, I have tremendous respect for you. I think you’re a great fighter, great champion of Bellator and I followed your career over in Japan when you were fighting over there and these things are sometimes a little complicated. It’s not just the fight, of course we would love to make the fight, but there’s so many details to be worked out between the promotions to make it happen. Bjorn did call me and I did talk to him and this was probably two months ago. I said look, Gilbert has a broken hand at the time so let’s just table this until the future, but after the KJ Noons/Nick Diaz fight, we can readdress this. We’ve been open to co-promotions with every league so that’s not the issue. The issue is how does it work on a business level between our two leagues and if we can work that out, we would love to have it.”
It’s basically the same answer Coker gave back in June, so while it’s still a possibility, working with Bellator doesn’t seem to be too high on Coker’s priority list just yet. After Eddie fights Roger Huerta, Coker says they’ll talk.