When Bellator MMA’s parent company Viacom made the decision to replace Bellator’s founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney on June 18th, members of the MMA community were not particularly shocked. While Rebney did a great job building the organization from the ground up, he was never able to get them over the hump; the organization as a whole just lacked that “it” factor.

Now with former Strikeforce founder Scott Coker at the helm as Bellator MMA’s president, things are going to change if Bellator is going to turn the corner.

It’s no secret that the UFC’s viewership numbers are down this yea,r and with many of their top draws sidelined with injuries, if another organization is going to make a move and gain some serious ground now would be the time.

Coker’s first order of business out of the gate was to drop the tournament format. Bellator’s use of seasonal tournaments was a great way to build the organization and crown inaugural champion,s but it has also been proven to be an ineffective tool in building stars. In an individual sport like MMA, fans tune it to watch fighters they know.

With a keen eye for talent and a great reputation in the industry, Coker knows how to find prospects and how to develop them into names fans want to watch fight.

The second thing Coker has done is scrapped the weekly fight cards the organization’s tournament series utilized and is instead going with a less is more approach.

Starting in 2015, Bellator is planning on 16 events and they will utilize a traditional match-making format. This is a great move for the organization because fewer shows will allow them to focus on building stacked cards to be featured on Spike TV. Fewer shows also means more promotion and hype, resulting in more effective name building.

It’s still too early to tell whether Viacom made the right move in going to Coker, but in the short time he has been in the driver’s seat Coker has changed Bellator for the better. It will be interesting to see how the organization evolves over the next year.

But one things for sure; Bellator is making a big play.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.