The STRIKEFORCE event, scheduled for January 12th at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena, was tentatively called ‘CHAMPIONS’ but with a second titleholder coming off the card, they are going to need a new name. Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold has apparently re-injured his bothersome wrist and will not be defend his title against Lorenz Larkin. Rather than come up with a new name however, let’s look at whether this card will even happen at all.
This is Rockhold’s second time pulling out of the Larkin match due to a wrist injury, so he better go have that looked at. Combine this with the fact that for the second time, a prospective Lightweight title fight between challenger Pat Healy and popular champion Gilbert Melendez has come apart a second time as well.
Another of the Strikeforce titleholders, Ronda Rousey, has already signed a contract with pappa Zuffa and is slated for PPV, so she will also obviously not be on the card.
This leaves Heavyweight Champ Daniel Cormier, but he is in a non title match against Dion Staring (a Dutch sparring partner of Alistair Overeem. Jeeesh with a name like that, I was asking ‘who did he used to play cornerback for’?).
That leaves welterweight titleholder Nate Marquardt who is slated to defend his title against Tarec Saffiedine. Though a solid fighter, Marquardt is not really a big enough name to carry the entire card, and Saffiedine has more letters in his last name than fans.
Had the card held together, it would have been a very solid card. As it is, undercard bouts featuring Gegard Mousasi fighting Mike Kyle and Ryan Couture, legendary Randy Couture‘s son, taking on. K.J. Noons are good bouts. Right now both Larkin and Healy are facing TBA.
Who is out there to fill these spots, since the UFC has chafed at sending their marginal players there? Let’s say as part of their UFC contract offer to Eddie Alvarez, he is offered the fight in January with Healy at 155. Why would Alvarez give up his holiday season with family to train for a fight in early January that is on a crappy card in a group with no future?
Cormier is extremely talented, but he doesn’t miss many meals. He might break his hand again reaching for his momma’s Christmas ham….
It seems clear that their is a contractual commitment to SHOWTIME to air STRIKEFORCE events that require putting the fighters and fans through a mummer’s farce.
The talent for this event can only decline with what is available, unless ZUFFA steps in and sends over talent.
Gut feeling says this show will be cancelled as well. Here is the tell – if the Cormier or Marquardt fights get lost before any new matches or TBA replacements are announced. We will be asking who Pat Healy is fighting around Christmas time, and that is just an agonizing way to do fights. Shoot this whole STRIKEFORCE thing in the head, please!