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Scott Coker on Gina Carano: 'We've had one quick conversation with her'

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Robert Laberge, Getty Images

Two months after Bellator named Scott Coker its president, the promotion is set to make some waves in the world of MMA. Exactly what those waves are, though, remains to be seen, but it's clear there's a philosophical change underway from the days of Bjorn Rebney's regime.

The Strikeforce founder appeared on The MMA Hour to talk about what the future has in store for Bellator, and he made it clear that the tournament-centric structure -- though it won't be done away with completely -- will be dialed back into a more traditional format. As in less events, no seasons, compelling story lines, and big names fighting big names.

"We're going to be in the star-building and put on big superfight business," Coker told host Ariel Helwani.

Some of the big names that have recently been linked to Bellator are women's pioneers Gina Carano and Cristiane Justino, both of whom fought for Coker in Strikeforce. With the recent announcement that Bellator had signed featherweights Julia Budd and Marloes Coenen, there were reports that Coker was in contact with Carano, as well.

When asked if he was going after his one-time star, who has put her fight career on hold for the last five years to pursue acting, Coker said there has been minimal communication.

"We've had one quick conversation with [manager] Scott [Karp], and that was it," he said. "And it was just one quick conversation and there was nothing really made of it. I think that Gina wants to fight at 135. And as far as Cyborg, we haven't talked to her because she's under contract fighting in Invicta, but if she becomes available, then we'll have a conversation with her."

Carano and the UFC have been in the process of negotiating a contract for awhile, but Dana White says the reason she hasn't signed yet is "complicated." If Carano does come to the UFC, the idea would be to give her a title shot against Ronda Rousey in the bantamweight division, which she's not accustomed to fighting in. If she wants to fight at bantamweight, that complicates her going to Bellator, as well, which only has a 145-pound division.

"Well, we don't have a 135 division, and I can't say what she's going to do or what she's not going to do, because she's got commitments with her films, and she's already very busy and she's got a good acting career," Coker said. "So it's really up to her and her schedule."

Another name that has been rumored to be in talks with Bellator is Kimbo Slice, the street brawler-turned-cagefighter who starred with EliteXC before fizzling out in the UFC. Coker addressed that rumor, too.

"Am I interested in Kimbo Slice, you know what, there was a conversation that one of our matchmakers had with him, but I think he's pretty much done," he said. "I think he's retired. I'm not sure what his position is, but I don't think there was any interest."