Scott Coker doesn’t think the right man is holding Bellator’s interim welterweight title.
After Logan Storley’s controversial win over Michael Page in the Bellator 281 main event, in which Storley controlled most of the fight with his wrestling but otherwise landed very little effective offense, the Bellator president told reporters in London that he believed The Damage Page dealt during the bout’s exchanges should have been enough to award the Englishman the new interim belt of promotion.
“Honestly, I thought ‘MVP’ won that fight,” Coker said in his post-fight media crowd. “And the reason I say that for me is because I spoke to my guys at home and they said, ‘Look, it’s close but we think MVP won.’ And I said, ‘Well, why are you saying that?’ And they said, ‘Because he hit the half round. You can’t just put the other half on someone.” They do no harm. You’re getting no closer to submitting. You don’t create a threat. You’re just laying on top of someone – and to me, that’s not MMA.
“Control is one thing, but you can’t control someone and just think you’re going to win the fight,” Coker later added. “For me, it’s like certain things have to happen, and wrestling alone won’t be enough.”
Storley eventually won a split decision over Page, winning scorecards of 48-47 and 49-46 in his favor from Justices Bryan Miner and Michael Bell, while Page received a dissenting 48-47 in his favor from Justice David Lethaby. Scoring was also hotly contested within the MMA community online, with many debating whether Page’s damage inflicted in the middle rounds should have been more important than Storley’s suffocating control.
In the unified rules of MMA, effective damage is the primary rating criterion used in judging bouts.
Anyway, Storley exited Bellator 281 with the interim welterweight title around his waist and a possible rematch against world welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov on the table for a unification bout if Amosov – who is currently fighting the Russian for his native Ukraine – is on the way is invasion – may return to MMA. Although the Bellator boss disagreed with the outcome of Friday’s fight.
“Listen, [Page] knew he was fighting a world-class wrestler,” said Coker. “And honestly, I think Logan needs to improve a bit himself because you can’t just lay on someone and think you’re going to win and score points because that’s not MMA. This is wrestling. So for me, if you want to wrestle, you have to keep wrestling, and you have to keep trying to submit or ground-and-pound or strike. There’s a difference between what you see on the wrestling mat and what you see in the cage.
“For me all these fighters – not just what you saw tonight – are the highest level of their work, but they owe it to themselves, they owe it to the audience, they owe it to the fans, that you have to in the disciplines , in which they are not strong, continue to get better. Right? And that’s what I would say to Logan if he were here: “Hey, you’re a great wrestler. Now it’s time for you to become a great forward or a great submission fighter and build your submission game,'” continued Coker.
“It has to be more than just wrestling someone. Honestly, that’s how I feel.”