Why Scott Coker passed on PFL after Bellator sale: ‘I’m an entrepreneur at heart’

Scott Coker and combat sports are as comfortable together as an old pair of shoes. The idea of the MMA world without Coker seems almost unnatural.

So when he wasn’t part of the crew from Bellator that made the move to the PFL after the sale this past fall, a few eyebrows were raised. Some people wondered either why the Bellator boss didn’t go to the PFL, or at the very least what was up his sleeve next.

We now know Coker will stay in the MMA game with a new event called Fight Night at the Tech, which premieres May 18 at Tech CU Arena in San Jose, Calif. Coker will be an executive producer and will work alongside former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

And that venture and the idea of being his own boss again seem to be big factors in his decision to not move over to the PFL.

“I’ll tell you honestly: I thought about it,” Coker told MMA Junkie Radio. “The opportunity was there. But how I felt was, it’s time to go. It’s time for me, for myself, to be an entrepreneur. I love that the most. I worked for Viacom and Paramount for nine years (as Bellator president). It was a great experience. I’m glad I did it. Paramount was very good to me. I learned a lot over there. But I’m an entrepreneur at heart. It’s really the first job (working for someone other than myself) I took as an adult.”

Many of Bellator’s fighters now are in the PFL, as are some of its executives and behind-the-scenes personnel. Others went different directions, some of their own choosing, and some because they weren’t asked to stay on with the PFL.

Coker was the Bellator frontman from June 2014 until November 2023, when the PFL’s acquisition was finalized. Prior to his long run with Bellator, Coker was the CEO of Strikeforce, a promotion the UFC acquired from him in 2011.

Coker said despite his close ties to the success Bellator built, he knew well in advance the direction he mostly likely would take if Bellator ever was sold.

“I worked hard. I think we built some great value in that company,” Coker said. “When Strikeforce built, it had value. Somebody wanted to come buy it. When Bellator built, it had value. Somebody wanted to come buy it. This is something that is natural in business. But I always felt like if they sold the company one day, I always told myself I would go back and be an entrepreneur – and that’s really what I wanted to do.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie