Bellator MMA President Scott Coker has assessed the next step for Michael Venom Page (MVP) following a two-fight combat sports losing skid.
Earlier this year, MVP had a six-fight win streak — including retribution against the sole man to defeat him in MMA at the time, Douglas Lima — rewarded with his first shot at the promotion’s welterweight gold.
But when champion Yaroslav Amosov withdrew due to his decision to defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion, MVP’s Bellator 281 headliner was turned into an interim title contest and smothering wrestler Logan Storey was handed a plane ticket to London.
At the May event, held at the OVO Wembley Arena, the American stifled the unique and extravagant striking game of “Venom,” controlling him for much of the five-round main event.
Despite many still scoring the fight in favor of MVP, including Coker, two of the judges gave the nod to “Storm,” ensuring he returned across the Atlantic with gold in his possession.
Despite the loss, Page appeared upbeat about what was to come in the cage. But as it turned out, that was to go on the backburner as he tested the bare-knuckle waters under the BKFC banner.
In August, MVP threw down with former UFC welterweight Mike Perry in the same arena where he’d fallen short of Bellator championship status three months prior. Once again, MVP failed to have his hand raised in fairly controversial fashion.
This time, the referee’s failure to signal what many perceived to be a clear knockdown for MVP in round two resulted in the pair fighting to a draw. “Platinum” ultimately edged the tiebreaker round to secure the victory.
Despite the second of his 2022 defeats coming outside of the Bellator cage, the organization’s chief has acknowledged that it will have an effect on plans for Page moving forward.
Coker Going “Back To The Drawing Board” With MVP
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Coker discussed the unique freedom that Bellator provides for members of its roster, with Page’s venture to BKFC representing a move that many promotions would have dismissed.
After noting that the finances involved for “Venom” made it impossible for him to deny the Brit an outside outing, Coker revealed his words of encouragement to his man both pre-fight and post-defeat.
“Michael fighting in bare knuckle, that was something where he came to me and said, ‘Hey I really wanna go do this.’ When he told me the economics involved for him, there’s no way I could tell this kid no,” Coker said. “I said, ‘Hey, you know what? When you fight, Michael, you gotta go and do your best. You’re representing us, because if you lose, we lose too. Because your value is based on you winning… So keep in mind you’re representing the company, do your best.’
“He went out there, he gave it a valiant effort, and it didn’t work out for him. I texted him, and I said, “Look, I know it didn’t work out, but hey, I hope this is just a learning process to get your hands better, get your feet better. But in mixed martial arts, you’re still one of the top fighters in the world. Don’t let this one fight bring you down,’” Coker added.
Assessing the plan moving forward for MVP, who remains one of Bellator’s more prominent stars, Coker suggested that the Londoner will need to take a step back if he is to progress further.
“So, we’re going back to the drawing board with him. But honestly, if he would’ve won, it would’ve been a different outcome for everybody,” Coker noted. “Now he’s coming off two defeats in a row. We have to take a step back, I think, to take a step forward in his next fight.”
With those comments in mind, perhaps Bellator will look to line the 35-year-old striker up against an opponent lower down the welterweight ladder for another main event in England’s capital next year.
Having fallen to two defeats in as many London outings last year, a strong result in front of a home crowd would no doubt do Page’s confidence a world of good as he looks to begin another championship charge.
This story originally appeared on MMANews.com. Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.