STRIKEFORCE returns on December 17th with an event that features Gilbert Melendez taking on Jorge Masvidal for the Lightweight Title. But that is not what this blog is about. My question is, when is the STRIKEFORCE event after that? The reason I ask is that WAY BACK in February of 2011, STRIKEFORCE started a heavyweight tournament, and the field has been trimmed down to the two finalists, Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier, but there is no word on when or where the fight will take place. And this is a very compelling fight, certainly one that the MMA world wants to see. Rather than run with the momentum, Strikeforce is stumbling out of the blocks.
As we head into December here, with the type of lead time and publicity needed to run an event of this magnitude, we are looking at at least a February of 2012 before we can realistically expect to see this fight.
Though the fighters are constantly training and staying fit, once a fight is signed guys at this level typically have a fight specific training camp that can be anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months. So from both the promotional and the preparatory perspective, the uncertainty surrounding the date and location runs a real chance of affecting the fight.
I blame Scott Coker, the STRIKEFORCE executive who pre-dates the ZUFFA purchase. He retained his job after the purchase by ZUFFA, but he has always had a mess when it comes to planning and scheduling. Since they embarked on the tournament, Coker has been clueless.
The UFC has been completing their schedule for January and February. They have signed fights as far out as March. The UFC’s schedule includes dates in Japan, the USA, Australia and Brazil, an ambitious schedule that also includes filming a reality show in Brazil and several events to air on the FOX networks.
I don’t pretend to know all the nuances that will go into merging the UFC and STRIKEFORCE, but the big boys have their next 10 or shows planned. Wouldn’t it seem likely that Coker was retained to manage STRIKEFORCE without affecting the UFC’s well oiled machine? And old Scottie can’t even get one show on the schedule. What a joke.
If the UFC plans to retain Coker long term, perhaps he can be transitioned to a role he will be more suited for, like getting Bruce Buffer water. He can also help Bruce fill out his phonetic queue cards and while the fights are going on, he can massage Bruce and leer creepily at Arianny.