Bellator has its eyes on the biggest free agent in combat sports. Bellator MMA president Scott Coker says there are open lines of communication between former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and the promotion.
Ngannou was the reigning UFC heavyweight champion until the moment his departure was made public. His UFC exit marks one of the most high-profile splits in mixed martial arts history and brought arguably the best active heavyweight on Earth to the free market. Coker made his interest in signing Ngannou public on Wednesday and revealed the two parties are in communication to set up a meeting.
"Of course, there's interest anytime there's a free agent at this level, we're talking to everybody all the time and Francis is somebody that we would have high interest in," Coker told "The MMA Hour" on Wednesday. "I know there's a dialogue going on and I look forward to sitting down in the very near future," he said. "Francis Ngannou would be a great addition to any roster and you know, I think we would be a great fit because you have Showtime Boxing, he could do boxing, and he could do MMA with us, so it'd be a one-stop shop for him."
Fedor Emelianenko, possibly the sport's all-time greatest heavyweight, will make his final walk to the cage in a Bellator heavyweight title fight against defending champion Ryan Bader at Bellator 290. Coker plans to extend an invitation to Ngannou to attend Saturday's card at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California.
"We will invite him [to Bellator 290], but more importantly is when we can sit down and really talk business."