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Scott Coker: Bellator, Rizin both interested in Wanderlei Silva

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

If Wanderlei Silva can ever get clear of his issues with the Nevada Athletic Commission, he could be looking at a windfall.

Bellator MMA president Scott Coker told Ariel Helwani on a recent edition of The MMA Hour that both Bellator and Rizin are interested in Silva, a recent free agent, provided he's no longer under suspension.

"He's gonna have to clear that all up," Coker said. "That's gonna be part of the deal. I know that Rizin wants to sign him as well. There's gonna be a couple of bidders out there for Wanderlei's services."

Coker said Silva is in Brazil right now, but when he returns to the U.S., "The Axe Murderer" and Bellator will sit down for a "serious conversation." On Wednesday, Bellator announced that Silva would be a part of the Bellator 149 fan fest on Feb. 18 in an ambassador role. He attempted to do that very thing two years ago, but was blocked due to his contract obligations with the UFC.

Last month, the UFC released Silva from his contract with the promotion. The two sides had been embroiled in a lawsuit after Silva claimed he had proof the UFC has fixed fights. Silva apologized and the suit was settled in January.

Silva, 39, should know more about his regulatory fate on Feb. 17. That's the date of the next NAC meeting and Silva's disciplinary case will be heard once again. The MMA legend was handed a lifetime suspension after evading a drug test in May 2014 and then admitting to diuretics use, but a Nevada judge ruled the ban to be "arbitrary and capricious" and sent the case back to the NAC.

It'll be three years away from the cage next month for Silva, who has not fought since March 2013 when he beat Brian Stann. Yet Silva, a former PRIDE middleweight champion, still holds a very popular name. It's not much of a surprise that promotions are after him, especially Rizin, which is run by former PRIDE head Nobuyuki Sakakibara.

"When he gets cleared in the U.S. to fight, I think that Wanderlei would be able to stay pretty busy -- as busy as he wants," said Coker, whose organization signed former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson this week.