FRIDAY, February 19th, 2016, AT 2:40 PM/ PST

Scott Coker
Getting Back Into Kickboxing...
Launching Bellator Kickboxing in April on Spike

Scott Coker

Many today may not remember who the largest Kickboxing Promoter in North America was back in the 90's. Heck, some of you were not even born, let alone watching or even participating in the fight sports. However, all of us here at the IKF do. It was Scott Coker who created the Kickboxing Promotion "STRIKEFORCE" which later became "Strikeforce MMA". Coker's love for Kickboxing never left him.

Well Kickboxing fans, you can stand up and cheer again because Scott Coker is BACK, this time under the new banner,

"Bellator Kickboxing!"

Coker made it clear in his press conference (See YouTube link below) that they will not be promoting Muay Thai bouts. Their focus will be on "K-1 Rules" Kickboxing, So no elbows or clinches.

Many know Bellator as the biggest competition of the UFC. However, many others see what Bellator has done has made them a much larger Fan Favorite brand than the UFC. Add in Kickboxing and just like that, Bellator just added an entire new fan base. Bellator Kickboxing is scheduled for an April 16th launch on Spike like Bellator MMA. According to sources, the Bellator staff will operate Bellator Kickboxing out of its current Santa Monica, California offices.

According to sources, Coker said he jumped at the opportunity to start his own promotion once the relationship between Spike TV and GLORY disbanded in 2015.

"We know how to do this as good or better than anybody," Coker said. "Because this kickboxing business is something I've been doing for a long time. It's something that I felt like, we could do it properly. Let's get our fighters that want to fight in kickboxing, who are fighting MMA right now, and let them fight on both sides of the ledger."

"If you look at our roster we have a lot of fighters that can cross over and do both," Coker said. "When you look at the TV side they liked having kickboxing as part of their programming. We can do a great job, have the fan base that Bellator has already and really market to them and speak to them."

The April 16 event will be co-promoted with Oktagon Kickboxing's Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy. Spike will air a live Bellator MMA event as a lead-in. The Bellator Kickboxing event will feature Melvin Manhoef VS Alexandru Negrea headlines the kickboxing event along with Mustapha Haida VS Karim Ghajii.

Coker's plan with Bellator Kickboxing is to feature Stand-Up fighting stars such as Joe Schilling, Raymond Daniels, Kevin Ross, Keri Taylor-Melendez and Anastasia Yankova. Some events will feature a mix of MMA and kickboxing bouts. According to Coker, Fighters will be free to compete in one or both promotions. You can watch the entire press conference announcement by clicking the link below.

Having been a part of so many former Kickboxing Champions careers, this decision was no surprise to us here. With Champions such as, but certainly not limited to, Pro Fighter like Javier "Thunder" Mendez, who on his birthday in 1992 celebrated by winning his first Light Cruiserweight World Title. After a brief retirement 2 years later, he came back again and in 1995 he won his second World title in the Light Heavyweight division, eventually retiring to focus on his Martial Arts Gym.

Javier's Gym, American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose California is one of the most successful fight gyms in the country producing loads of great fighters, many who went on to fight on Coker's Strikeforce MMA events.

Through the years Javiar remained close with Scott and said just recently as Strikeforce faded into the history books, Scott never changed as he was, and still is all about the fights and the fighters.

"He's driven to make great shows," Mendez said. "He's never been driven by popularity, or fame or attention. He was driven by creating great things, by putting on shows fans wanted to see, by doing things that people thought couldn't be done. He's had great, great success over the years, but he's still the same guy. If he gives you his word, you can rely on it. His word is golden. He's one of those rare people you meet, who when he tells you he is going to do something, he does it.

Javier was one of Scott's big name Main Events along with others such as Francis "Footloose" Farley who in 1989 won the North American Middleweight title. In 1993 he won the Middleweight World title and in 1995 he won the Light Middleweight World title.

Other Kickboxing stars of Coker's promotion included Jean Claude Leuyer who won the Intercontinental Super Heavyweight title on March 13, 1994 and eventually the Super Heavyweight World title in 2 different rule styles.

Two time World Champion Curtis "Battlecat" Schuster and San Shou World Champion and eventual Strikeforce and UFC Champion Cung Le were also parts of Coker's Super Stars.

And of course, the late former World Champion Alex Gong, and other Fairtex fighters such as Jongsanan Fairtex, Bunkerd Faphimai, George Tsutsui & Enn Fairtex (Janthakhunkick)

Simply said, Scott created a lot of Champion and Star Kickboxers. His events were what many referred to as

"The Last of the Known Kickboxers".

This was because after ESPN didn't renew their contract he stopped Promoting Kickboxing and Muay Thai. Because of this, there was no more Kickboxing on TV. TV, as it did with the UFC and MMA, made the sport, and with it, the Stars. With no more Kickboxing TV deal, there were no more Kickboxing Stars, leaving it up to web sites such as the IKF's to be one of the only places future Kickboxing and Muay Thai Stars would be known.

Bellator Kickboxing Announcement