A long time ago, in the 1990′s, UFC star Ken Shamrock was fond of saying that MMA was really more spectacle than sport, that it had an edge to it that made it beyond just mere competition. Now with the cancellation of STRIKEFORCE’s September 29th event 5 days from now, MMA runs the risk of not looking like a sport still. This is the second cancellation of an event in the past month. This is bad news and poor management and does not bode well for the immediate future of the sport.
Gilbert Melendez, arguably STRIKEFORCE’s biggest star and their Lightweight champion was injured, leaving the card without it’s marquee star. The cancellation is being blamed on TV network SHOWTIME, which has a final sign off on the matches that it will air.
Funny, I don’t recall the Colts cancelling games last year when Peyton Manning went down. Oh but the NFL is a sport, and I guess MMA isn’t just yet.
Sure a solution may not be easy, but what was the network offered as an alternative? SImply put, a card without the main event sucks, so the question is, what replacement scenarios were offered? Is fat Scott Coker completely asleep at the wheel? Is Dana White really done caring about this stuff?
When Georges St Pierre went down, the UFC created an interim title bout between Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz. With Melendez out, an interim title at STRIKEFORCE would have been logical. ZUFFA may have had to step up and offer talent from their roster, but there are probably a few guys at 155 lbs who would step up to fight Pat Healy.
I know Pat Healy, and I am pretty sure he would accept a late replacement opponent. Not everyone in MMA has caught the Jon Jones/Greg Jackson ghey.
Josh Thompson is on the card already, maybe shuffling him up is an option. Maybe not, STRIKEFORCE and SHOWTIME may want to avoid the possibility of having to pit him against Melendez upon a return again. This leaves ZUFFA’s roster…
Jim Miller? Clay Guida? Both are guys whose backgrounds suggest they would be open to a short notice match, and both are high level guys who are a bit lost i n the shuffle in the UFC. Either one of them against Healy for the interim title would have likely been enough for SHOWTIME, especially Guida who is a very recognizable MMA fighter.
It also would have given Melendez a logical return match when he heals up – wasn’t he promised like 5 fights this year, or something like that.
This cancellation does not bode well for the next STRIKEFORCE card – who will they main event against Daniel Cormier? Unless they get creative, SHOWTIME may just want out of the MMA business altogether.