A showdown between Bellator's cash cow and the legendary Russian heavyweight has been bandied about since the announcement of Emelianenko's New Year's Eve comeback on Spike TV, but Bellator president Scott Coker shot down the idea when presented with it Monday on The MMA Hour.
"No, no. Kimbo is a Bellator fighter," Coker said. "We have other plans for Kimbo."
Slice (5-2) propelled Bellator to its biggest ever ratings when he returned from a five-year MMA layoff and knocked out Ken Shamrock at Bellator 138. The broadcast peaked at an impressive 2.1 million viewers during the catchweight bout, which saw Slice brutally dispatch Shamrock after surviving a near-submission in the fight's early stages.
Emelianenko is widely considered to be one of the greatest fighters to ever compete in the sport. His return is tentatively slated for Dec. 31 under the banner of an unnamed Japanese organization led by former Pride FC boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
The card will air on tape delay on Spike TV, and it's possible the event may feature several Bellator fighters due to both promotions' relationships with Viacom.
But according to Coker, Slice is a Bellator exclusive who should be in store for a big 2016 campaign.
"We're going to fight [Slice] early next year," Coker said. "And I think next year, you're going to see Kimbo Slice fight three times in Bellator."
Slice's next opponent is "still to-be-determined," but Coker revealed that Bellator officials are "taking a close look at" booking the 41-year-old heavyweight against the winner of a Nov. 6 fight between Bobby Lashley vs. James Thompson.
Slice memorably defeated Thompson via third-round TKO in 2008, drawing peak ratings of 6.51 million viewers on CBS.
"We might take a look at maybe the winner of that fight and Kimbo," Coker said.
"I'm not promising, I'm just saying."