Bellator boss Scott Coker was the driving force behind the successful “Strikforce” mixed martial arts promotion that produced some of the sports top fighters. Future stars like Gina Carano, Ronda Rousey, and Daniel Cormier were all names pushed by Coker before the promotion was purchased by the UFC is 2011.
Strikeforce wasn’t always scoring big ratings though and there was a time when they were actually having to run shows at Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Mansion” in California. The mansion surely wasn’t the typical place to have an MMA event, but this was during the early years of Strikeforce and an opportunity to align themselves with an iconic brand.
In fact, one of the greatest trilogy fights in MMA history got its start at Heffner’s legendary home, Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson who would continue that trilogy over the next five years. When the news broke about Hugh Heffner’s death, people around the world shared their memories of the mansion. Scott Coker was very grateful that Heffner offered to host Strikeforce at “The Playboy Mansion” and shared some of his memories of him during an interview with Uproxx.
“Hugh Hefner represented pop culture in a way that no else could. When he offered to host STRIKEFORCE at the iconic Playboy Mansion back in 2007, we knew that was something we couldn’t turn down. At that point, it was only our seventh event and we hadn’t been out of northern California yet. We saw it as a great opportunity to promote the sport of MMA alongside one of the most recognized brands in all of entertainment. Hugh was a tremendous supporter of combat sports and I’m proud to have promoted two events at his famed property. I’m very saddened to hear the news today and my thoughts are with Hugh Hefner’s family at this time.”