As promised, Bellator and Rizin put together a stunning year-end cross-promotional spectacle on New Year’s Eve. The success of Bellator vs. Rizin left even Eagle FC founder and former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov speechless.
After the significant MMA event that took place in Japan, Coker described his private conversation with Nurmagomedov at the press conference.
Bellator CEO said that Khabib was “freaking out” because he had just discovered how popular combat sports is in Japan.
Scott Coker described:
“Khabib [had] never seen the production and the fans and he was freaking out. He was telling me, he kept telling me, ‘This is unbelievable. I had no idea that, you know, something like this was happening in Japan.’ And I said, ‘You know, this is where it started, Khabib.”
“This is where, you know, MMA and martial arts combat, it started here and it grew out through the rest of the world but there was a time when Japan had the best fighters in the world, the best production in the world, the best promotion in the world.’”
“He was really impressed… I think he was extremely excited and I think he’ll be talking about Japanese MMA and Rizin and the show for a long time.”
Following the event, Nurmagomedov posted a photo on Instagram. He congratulated his colleague Gadzhi Rabadanov, who won the first match on the Rizin X Bellator main card by defeating Koji Takeda.
“Japan was very interesting. It was the first time I visited this country, it’s just a different world, I can’t describe it with words.”
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) December 31, 2022
“Congratulations Gadzhi Rabadanov. You closed the team’s year with your performance and managed to make it a resounding victory. This year is the most memorable for our team, we will remember it for a long time. It was amazing days in Japan.”
Nurmagomedov and Coker earlier hinted about working together, suggesting a fight between Junior Dos Santos and Fedor Emelianenko as the main event. To this day, nothing tangible has happened. Given Coker’s most recent admission, there is a chance that we may see him and Khabib working together soon.
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) January 1, 2023