So despite the fact that ZUFFA now owns STRIKEFORCE, and that tourney favorite Alistair Overeem has bailed out, the confusing Heavyweight Grand Prix at STRIKEFORCE continues on September 10th, when Josh Barnett takes on Sergei Kharitonov. It’s a compelling fight, but there is confusion.
The organization caught a lot of criticism for a lack of cohesion in this tourney from the start. Alistair Overeem was STRIKEFORCE’s heavyweight titleholder, and usually the idea of a tourney was to crown a champion or to crown a top contender. His participation messed things up, people asked ‘what happens to the title if he loses?’ and other issues that group president Scott Coker did a horrible job in addressing.
Now Overeem is gone, and STRIKFORCE has made the bizarre announcement that the winner will not be their new champion, that Overeem’s title will stay vacant. Whoever is driving this bus, let’s just say it is a short bus.
Since the start, this tournament has had a lot of talent, but there are still so many unanswered questions. Like, after the semi finals on the 10th, when Daniel Cormier also takes on Bigfoot Silva, when are the finals? And if it’s not to crown a champion now, will there ever be a STRIKEFORCE champion again, or are we going to see a fast track merger with the UFC?
Personally I have been picking Josh Barnett to win the tournament from the start. And this is another monkey wrench that leads to more questions. What happens if Barnett does win?
Barnett is a former UFC champion, but he has failed several steroid tests. More importantly, he was stripped of the UFC title by Dana White and it has been said by the UFC that he will never work for them again. Barnett is not easy to deal with and White usually sticks to his guns. So if Barnett wins what is clearly the most talented tournament field possible outside of UFC, what happens?
Scott Coker really needs to lose his job, from the start he made a confusing, disorganized mess out of something that MMA fans could have really gotten behind.
The UFC has swallowed up Nick Diaz, Strikeforce’s 170 lb title holder. Perhaps it is time they took the reigns on this mess as well. And the truth is, a final of Bigfoot Silva and Josh Barnett would make a great second fight for FOX on November 12th to back up the Cain Velasquez versus Junior dos Santos main event. Taking the final officially under the UFC banner would make the STRIKEFORCE title irrelevant, something Coker has already managed to do, and it would be the soundest use of what will be a compelling final fight to what has been an organizational nightmare. Make it happen, Dana!