Bellator’s featherweight grand prix continued this past weekend. However, a choice in the selection show afterward left Scott Coker a bit puzzled.
Bellator 228 on Saturday saw champion Patricio Freire, AJ McKee, Darrion Caldwell and Daniel Weichel advance to the quarterfinals. After Freire’s win over Juan Archuleta, there was a selection show that took place.
Seven of the remaining featherweights chose lots to determine who could pick their next opponent and fight date. Caldwell chose to fight in March and called out Freire. Pedro Carvalho later chose to face Caldwell in March.
However, being the champion, Freire had the “champ’s choice” to override any previous decision and pick who he wanted. Rather than respond to Caldwell’s callout, he opted to face Carvalho in March. Coker, meanwhile, was hoping “Pitbull” faced Caldwell.
“For me personally, I think that there’s some fighters that I thought were interesting, but I was hoping for a different fight at the very end,” Coker said in the post-event press conference (via MMA Fighting). “But I think he [Pitbull] picked who he wanted to fight and he’s the champ and he gets to do what he wants to do. But I tell ya, there’s some fights that I really look forward to in that tournament, so I think we’re going to have a great, great tournament on our hands.”
As for why Coker wanted that fight, it would have simply been more intriguing, especially with Caldwell’s trash talk of Freire:
“My only thought was I thought when ‘Pitbull’ had the shot, I thought he was going to fight DC [Caldwell],” Coker added. “I thought he wanted him really bad. But you know, it went the other way, so now we have some interesting fights on both sides and if you keep winning, you’ll fight each other anyway at the end, so it’s going to be fine.”
The selection show as a whole was a new concept and one Coker thought was a success overall:
“I liked it,” Coker said. “I thought it was great. It’s something that I’ll go back and look at the footage and talk to the guys but honestly I think it was a fun way to present the tournament and pick the tournament. It was a random draw but there was a little twist at the end so I liked it and we’ll see what happens.“
What did you think of the selection show? And Pitbull choosing Carvalho rather than Caldwell?