Coker says that he just didn’t feel comfortable running the Bellator 241 while putting the health of the fighters and others on the line.
“There was one thing on my mind: ‘Is my staff, my fighters, my production crew, are we putting our people in harms way?,’ and I just couldn’t come to an answer on that,” Coker said on The Luke Thomas Show (via Danny Segura of MMA Junkie). “I believe we made the right call because who really knows, right? I wasn’t sure about the situation, and rumors start flying around. And at the end of the day, I just didn’t feel comfortable, some of my staff didn’t feel comfortable, some of the production crew didn’t feel comfortable. So after a while, you go, ‘This is not going to be an event that we’re going to want to promote and feel good about promoting.’ We’re talking about hours away from the first fight, so everyone was there, and then it was a matter of scrambling and getting everyone out of there. Because if there was a ban on flights, we need to get everyone to the airport and get them back into the city. We had people from out of the country that couldn’t fly after Monday, so we just felt the need that we needed to get these guys out of here. There is a time where people should be at home with their families hunkering down and being ready for whatever it is that’s going to come next.”
The coronavirus didn’t just cause Bellator 241 to be postponed, as a plethora of MMA promotions have either canceled or postponed their own events due to the virus.
One positive for Bellator MMA is that the promotion doesn’t have another event scheduled until May 9, which gives them plenty of time to see where things lie.
“We don’t know how long this is going to go on, how long before we can get test kits, test everyone, and create a vaccine,” Coker said. “Right now, there is so much uncertainty. I don’t want to speculate, but I don’t look at it as just the MMA industry. I look at it as a whole sports-and-entertainment sector and the talking about billions of dollars at that point. NBA is down, MLB is postponed, masses are canceled. I was in New York earlier in the week, and we had an amazing press conference and that to me seems like months ago now compared to when we were there announcing all of our great fights. It just seems like such great distance of time from that. We’re on a whole new pattern like everyone else. The only thing we can say is that on our calendar we didn’t have anything scheduled until May 9, so that gives us a couple of months window to see how it unfolds.”
There is no word yet on when the postponed Bellator 241 card will happen, which was supposed to feature the final two quarterfinal round fights in the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix.