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Illustrating absurdity: Why Strikeforce should never consider a Heavyweight tournament

By Zach Arnold | January 3, 2011

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This is not a new topic of discussion for us on the site. I’ve repeatedly stated that Strikeforce should absolutely steer clear of running a Grand Prix-style tournament after they failed to pull off a Middleweight tournament when Jake Shields vacated his belt and went to UFC.

Remember the proposed Middleweight tournament by Scott Coker? First, it was initially rumored to be 16. Then it came down to 8, with the idea being that it would be broken up into two brackets. Then came the issues reportedly about whether or not to pay fighters for three bouts or for two bouts if they won the tournament (based on the idea of one tournament match on one show and the semi-finals and finals on a second show). Strikeforce took a concept in which their deepest division could have produced a tournament and instead completely gave up on the idea when the logistics proved to be challenging. That, along with the fact that state athletic commissions aren’t supportive of the idea of a multi-fight one-night tournament format. So, instead of running a tournament over three shows to crown a new champion, they just decided to book a title match between Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. After that was announced, then came another tease that perhaps a #1 contender’s tournament would end up taking place. Naturally, it didn’t happen. Five months after his Middleweight title win in Houston, Jacare will defend the belt against Robbie Lawler on January 29th in San Jose. That’s right, Mr. Lawler will be fighting less than two months after his St. Louis fight.

Which brings us to the constant rumors about Strikeforce planning a heavyweight tournament in 2011. Stop the insanity. If you couldn’t pull off a Middleweight tournament with fighters who are largely based in the States, how do you expect to pull off a tournament with both domestic and foreign fighters who have proven to be anything but easy in contract negotiations? Quietly, a report surfaced yesterday that Fedor may not end up fighting on the January 29th show for Strikeforce after all. Huh, how about that? Between this news and the fact that Josh Barnett still isn’t licensed to fight in California and Alistair Overeem has K-1 obligations and you’re looking at a Heavyweight tournament consisting of guys like Brett Rogers and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. In other words, if Strikeforce tries to put together a Heavyweight tournament, it will fall apart before it even begins.

There are two major questions that need to be answered before fans even care about such a tournament. First, what does M-1 want? Does M-1 sense that they can end up being a content provider to Showtime? If so, why would they cooperate with Strikeforce? Second, why should fans care about a Strikeforce heavyweight tournament when most American MMA fans think that the best heavyweights in the world are currently fighting in the UFC?

In addition to those questions, ask yourself the following — what would the point of the tournament be? Alistair Overeem is the champion. He last fought for the promotion seven months ago. He’s largely forgotten by the casual fans and if fans know of his presence it’s more or less due to his presence in K-1. Fabricio Werdum, the man who beat the great and mystical Fedor, has almost been invisible. Most of the fans who saw him beat Fedor have either forgotten about him or haven’t though enough about him to care about seeing him since the promotion he works for barely mentions him. Remember the MMA writers who screamed at others who suggested that Werdum should fight Overeem for the title instead of rematch with Fedor again? Six months later, memories of Fedor’s loss to Werdum do not produce the same kind of emotional response from fans that it did at the time. (For a litmus test, ask MMA fans that you know about the Carwin/Lesnar fight and you’re likely to encounter the same kind of passion about the way Josh Rosenthal handled the fight now as you saw when it happened last July.)

Strikeforce didn’t capitalize on the momentum of Werdum’s upset win. So, the idea of doing a rematch between Fedor and Werdum is largely in the ‘neutral’ category today.

At this point, all I want to see from Strikeforce is competency. Forget about booking a tournament. Forget about any elaborate plans for 2011. Produce the fights that people want to see and do so in a timely manner. This is a results-oriented business. The rematch between Fedor and Werdum, if there was going to be one, should have happened before the end of 2010. It didn’t. The fact that Fedor’s camp is even negotiating with Strikeforce and showing strength after the loss to Werdum is amazing. Nobody knows when Werdum or Overeem (or Barnett) is going to fight next. Who’s left?

It was recently pointed out on Twitter than Shane Del Rosario, a man who Scott Coker loves to tout as a future ace in Strikeforce, has only fought twice in two years for the promotion. In contrast, he fought three years in one year for Gary Shaw under the Elite XC banner.

Ditch the idea of a tournament. Start booking the fights that fans want to see and book fights that are actually meaningful. Book competitive fights with no delays. No more excuses. No more tournaments until you’ve earned the public’s trust.

Update (1/3): Fedor vs. Bigfoot Silva, Werdum vs. Brett Rogers, and Barnett Kharitonov/Arlovski. No, this is not what the fans deserve. Try again.

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 103 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

103 Responses to “Illustrating absurdity: Why Strikeforce should never consider a Heavyweight tournament”

  1. Phil says:

    If they really want to do a tournament, they should just do a 4 man tournament with Silva, Fedor, Reem, and Werdum.

    I am not even sure they could get through those 3 fights without injuries, negotiations, and the other problems that SF seems to run into whenever they try to actually book HW fights, never mind trying to book 7 fights at once.

  2. Chris says:

    Zach, you just knocked the ball out of the park.

  3. A. Taveras says:

    The true illustration of absurdity is that there actually was a Strikeforce MW tournament in 2010. That ppl don’t realize it speaks to Strikeforce marketing shortcomings, however if you look at the matches that occurred, Jacare vs. Lawler would culminate an 8 man elimination tournament in the division. Here are the brackets:

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Didn’t Lawler fight Babalu and lose inbetween there?

      • The Gaijin says:

        Technically, it wouldn’t matter to the tournament as that was a catch fight at 195…

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Doesn’t really matter. If this was a tournament, they wouldn’t be having semi-finalists fight non-tournament fights.

          So even for people to try and stretch that it is a tournament is absurd.

          I’m sure you could find examples of 20+ UFC “Tournaments” over the last 2 year if you used this method.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Hey…I didn’t say I disagreed with you per se, I was just saying that technically within the confines of the 185lb division, it is *technically* correct.

          It’s no different than people charting out that the UFC had a 16-man tourney at HW that lead to Cain vs. Lesnar…it required some leaps or to ignore a few things that would ruin it, but I’m not going to crap all over someone for saying they kinda, sorta ran a “tournament”.

  4. First, what does M-1 want? Does M-1 sense that they can end up being a content provider to Showtime? If so, why would they cooperate with Strikeforce?

    Because as with the boxing programming, Showtime will tell them who Fedor must fight in order for them to get any money at all.

    As for “not capitalizing with Werdum”, he got hurt and has been rehabbing injuries. He said months ago that he wouldn’t be ready until nearly Q2 of 2011.

  5. Zach Arnold says:

    As for “not capitalizing with Werdum”, he got hurt and has been rehabbing injuries. He said months ago that he wouldn’t be ready until nearly Q2 of 2011.

    And yet he’s free enough to do seminars and travel all over the place exerting physical activity?

    He would have been fighting again sooner if he was working in UFC, for better or for worse.

    • Maybe that’s true. Maybe its not. Who knows? Anthony Johnson hasn’t fought in 13 months and still doesn’t have a fight booked right now.

      • Wolverine says:

        Do you seriorusly compare Anthony Johnson to a guy who beat Fedor?

        • Am I comparing his resume or the fact that they are both hurt and not fighting? Think for a second. Sub him with Shogun if it makes you feel better.

        • Wolverine says:

          UFC doesn’t need Anthony Johnson, they could cut him today and no one would care. There is also a huge difference between severity of Shogun’s and Werdum’s injuries.

          I’m not saying that UFC would be able to force Werdum to fight in this situation, but comparing it to Anthony Johnson’s injury makes no sense.

        • No one even knows what surgery was done on either man, and you’re gonna tell me with certainty what each man is capable of post surgery? C’mon now.

    • fd says:

      I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a grappling seminar, Zach, but it’s not really that physically demanding for the guy teaching. As long as he’s not rolling with the students afterwards (which is common but certainly not ubiquitous) it wouldn’t really interfere with rehabbing his elbow in any meaningful sense.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        If your injury is serious enough…. Then even light grappling or demostrations should hurt enough to make even light demonstrations nearly impossible. And that’s both pre or post surgery.

        • smoogy says:

          Have you examined the patient, Dr. Huddle?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          If you had ever experienced a serious enough injury, you wouldn’t be asking that question.

        • The level of strength someone needs to be at to perform at a grappling seminar versus that to be competitive in the sport of MMA is analogous to throwing a ball a couple times in practice vs. playing on gameday in the NFL.

        • fd says:

          There is a lot of middle ground between “too injured to even do light demonstrations at a grappling seminar” and “not close enough to 100% to fight Fedor Emelianenko.” Don’t be an idiot.

  6. Jason Harris says:

    At this point, I am reasonably certain that a lot of the HW signings they have made were never intended to lead to fights. Barnett? Kharitonov? What have they done with these guys? It’s like they’re announcing they signed guys who have no intention on fighting in the US, just to get their name in the press.

    • I guess they sort of control those guys as far as them fighting in the US is concerned and they do it for basically no money. That may seem meaningless, but it also means that someone like Bellator has a very small pool of talent to go.

  7. David M says:

    The most shocking news I’ve heard in many years is that a card headlined by Jon Fitch sold out in 27 minutes. Maybe the UFC put GSP’s face on the fight poster? I am at a loss.

    In re: Strikeforce HW tourney, it is doomed to fail. These guys with non exclusive contracts can do whatever they want; they view Strikeforce as an ex-girlfriend who they can still hook up with when they don’t have any better options available.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      The power of the UFC Brand.

    • The Gaijin says:

      I think you’re also overlooking that BJ is on the card and it’s in Australia, a place that’s rather starved for live mma events of any kind let alone the UFC.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Wasn’t there a recent Australian card with some name fighters on it. Impact FC was it’s name. It didn’t sell out.

        Once again, name brand….

        Being starved for MMA helps, but as past cards like Impact FC has shown, just because an area is starving for MMA, doesn’t mean it will sell.

        The UFC name is what sold that event.

        • David M says:

          I know that the name brand and BJ are what sold out the event, I was just laughing at the thought of there being demand to see a Jon Fitch fight; I think Dana put Fitch in the main event purely to see how crazy the Aussies are for the UFC.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Aussies and Canucks will eat up anything the UFC puts their way. It is amazing. McCorkle/Struve co-main event? No problem!! The American crowd doesn’t go for that.

  8. Zack says:

    “Strikeforce didn’t capitalize on the momentum of Werdum’s upset win.”

    He was injured. Just like UFC didn’t capitalize on the momentum of Vitors win over Franklin.

    “He would have been fighting again sooner if he was working in UFC, for better or for worse.”

    Nah. See above.

    • Jeff says:

      Yes they did; they booked Vitor immediately in a title fight which he pulled out of a few weeks before.

    • Chromium says:

      StrikeForce should have been marketing Werdum. Hell, they should have done that even before the Fedor fight, but they couldn’t be arsed to even put him on the poster if I recall correctly. When you have a marquee fighter or rising star, it is win-win to market their opponent too. If a guy like Fedor (marquee headliner) or Bobby Lashley (rising star and curiosity) win, they seem all the stronger because it will seem like a more important win. And if they lose, they can get more out of the guy that won because he’ll have been introduced and marketed to the audience before the fight happened.

      Okay, so you’d think lesson learned, and once Werdum won, treat it like the history-making upset that it was, and get behind Werdum as the man who managed to beat the indestructible Fedor, while pushing Fedor to rehabilitate his image. They may not be able to get these guys on late-night talk shows, but they could be doing interviews to sporting outlets, or at least MMA websites, while interviewing them on their own broadcasts as well. Make Werdum seem like one of the very best in the world.

      But no, there’s just this enormous mess instead. I really hope we get to know some day what the deal is with how the fuck M-1 is actually negotiating with StrikeForce from a position of strength after Fedor lost.

  9. isaak jones says:

    The fans think the best heavyweights or in the ufc I doubt that. After seeing brock get exposed 2 times, carwin being a one round wonder & I doubt half the fans even knows who the ufc hw champion is or even care. Nobody is really interested in santos vs cain. All that ufc has the best hw’s in the world bs has lost its luster don’t you think. Seems this article is a big stroke of the ufc’s ego, everytime I come to this website I read an article disrespecting strikeforce. A heavyweight tournament will certainly bring interest amongst the fan, since you think nobody cares about sf hw division. But I beg to differ the fans or looking forward to the sf hw division in 2011 I’m hearing more about the expectations than cain vs santos rather good or bad. But I do agree that a grand prix will be really hard to put together.

    • Nicholai says:

      wow, speechless

    • Chuck says:

      Stroking UFC’s ego? Zach Arnold is hardly a UFC cheerleader. As I mentioned elsewhere, Zach is all about the “doom and gloom”, usually warranted. It’s definitely warranted here. The best heavyweight is in UFC, and it’s Cain Velazquez. Strikeforce have numbers two and three, being Fabricio Werdum and Fedor respectively. The rest of the top ten would be (in no particular order) Junior Dos Santos (probably number 5), Brock Lesnar, Alistair Overeem, Antonio Silva, Shane Carwin, Frank Mir, and Big Nog. That is the top ten of Sherdog, Bloody Elbow, etc. So, out of the top ten, six are in UFC, four in Strikeforce. Not a bad spread. But the point is that most of the best heavyweights are in UFC. MOST. Not all. Just over half of them.

      Okay, to take a look at a top 25 at Bloody Elbow/ USA Today, 13 of them are in UFC, 7 in Strikeforce (if you count Josh Barnett, who hasn’t fought for Strikeforce yet), 5 in others (Bellator having just one heavyweight in the top 25, being Cole Konrad). So again, most of the best heavyweights, just over half of them, are in UFC. And yes, many (including myself) are looking forward to the Dos Santos/Cain fight. Excellent fight on paper. And I would love to see a heavyweight tournament in Strikeforce consisting of Fedor, Bigfoot, Werdum, whoever else.

      No disrespecting Strikeforce. Just the truth.

      • Zach Arnold says:

        Stroking UFC’s ego? Zach Arnold is hardly a UFC cheerleader. As I mentioned elsewhere, Zach is all about the “doom and gloom”, usually warranted. It’s definitely warranted here.

        I’m really not the ‘doomsayer’ that I’m made out to be, but those who have wanted to make a caricature of me as a straw man for their own debates happened long ago.

        • Chuck says:

          Oh I know you truly aren’t the doomsayer that many have labeled you as. Trust me, I know that. I just say that is what others have labeled you and have, as you said, made a caricature of you for my own point-making. And that point is that you are not a UFC cheerleader, or anyone’s cheerleader at that. As I have said many times before, I am a big fan of yours for six or so years now.

  10. 45 Huddle says:

    They can’t pull of a Heavyweight Tournament with their better fighters. So why are they mentioning it to media guys? Just so they can look bad in the future?

    If I was Coker, I would work on a tournament but mention it to basically nobody. And only if the contracts were all worked out, then I would release it to the press.

    Then again, they do have the backing of Showtime, who is a major combat sports player!! They have done such a great job with the Super 6 staying on track…. Oh wait….

    With no major Heavyweight fights scheduled for January…. That means Jan will mark the 7th straight month that SF doesn’t have a meaningful fight between 2 Heavyweights. Will February make 8 months?

  11. edub says:

    I actually think “A HW tournament to decide the best HW fighter in the world” would do well in terms of viewers. You would have the best HW striker, the Best HW grappler, and the all time best HW in the world in the same tournament. From a marketing perspective I think it would outdraw expectations.

    But there is the huge problem of getting them all to agree.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      From 350,000 average viewers to 450,000 average viewers on Showtime?

      Perhaps if it was on CBS…. But why would they want to get involved with SF again when they know there is a good chance of this not happening properly…

      • edub says:

        Yes CBS would definately draw the bigger audiences, but I was more speaking of the tournament dynamic and having those certain fighters in the tournament.

        If SF could get CBS, and all the fighters on board with it could see big numbers. It’s just all that happening probably will make that impossible.

        • Jeff says:

          And the rumor was they were going to put the semis and finals on PPV. If only 300,000 people watch their Showtime cards for $10/month – how many do you think they’ll get at $50 for PPV?

        • edub says:

          It would all depend on how it was marketed, and which fighters got to the semis.

          There is a place in MMA for highlevel tournaments,(Bellator aside) it just hasn’t been found yet. If you have guys that have the best skills in one particular discipline vying for a title it also comes back to the style vs. style product.

          Strikeforce would have to go big though. Market enough footage to the internet, CBS, Showtime, smaller promotions, and wherever else they could get space.

  12. Garret says:

    If they do a grand prix, it just shows that Strikeforce is a promotion run by a bunch of marks.

    • Chuck says:

      Maybe, but I think a tournament could probably juicen up Strikeforce’s leveling-off business. They basically hit their popularity peak for now. A tournament (especially a heavyweight one, and even more especially one with Fedor in it) could give Strikeforce a good short-term boost in business. But they should absolutely NOT do a round robin. Showtime has learned that lesson with the Super Six.

      Actually, they really didn’t learn their lesson. Because the current Bantamweight tournament that just started this month (which is a four man bracket. Abner Mares beat Vic Darchinyan and Joseph Agbeko avenged a prior loss to Yhonny Perez via unanimous decision. It’s Mares vs. Agbeko in the finals, and Darchinyan vs. Perez for a third place) was originally going to be another Super Six, but Nonito Donaire and Fernando Montiel turned it down. Probably for the best. The tournament is already almost finished with only two more fights left (probably sometime in March). And the Super-middleweight Super Six still has their semis to do. The stupid thing started last year, and won’t be over until at least June-July. I knew it would be a clusterfuck with some good fights. But the entire boxing community collectively jizzed their pants over the awesomeness of a tournament happening with many top fighters.

      And those in Strikeforce are marks. Absolutely they are. So is Dana White. Besides most fly-by-nights (like Gary Shaw), most promoters start up MMA (many pro wrestling promoters are like this too) promotions because they love MMA and want to make some money from it and want to have fights they want to see, with what is available to them and within their budgets. The reason Zuffa owns UFC is because Dana White (major mark) talked the Fertitas into buying UFC because Dana is a huge fan. Of course it worked out greatly for them. Doesn’t always happen.

      The biggest marks? The fighters themselves. They get into MMA for a main reason. Because they love it and want to make money doing it. For most fighters it isn’t JUST for the money (I stress the word “just”). Most fighters barely make peanuts. If you want to get into a sport just for money then baseball and football are much more opportunistic ventures.

  13. John says:

    Chuck said;

    “The best heavyweight is in UFC, and it’s Cain Velazquez. Strikeforce have numbers two and three, being Fabricio Werdum and Fedor respectively.”

    I still have to chuckle, when I see people write that Cain is the #1 HW in the world. Who did Cain beat to become #1? Brock Lesnar? That logic only works if you had Lesnar at #1 the entire time, which is ridiculous. Rankings are whack, they are pure subjective BS.

  14. robthom says:

    If SF wants an HW Tournament, the first order of biz is FIRE FEDOR!!!!

    What self sespecting MMA HW is gonna dedicate to fighting their hardest for a “foolin around crown” until you figure out your relationship with your last sweetheart?!

    • robthom says:

      Unless you’re only looking for chumps!

      Then you could save a lot of time by just hiring a chump!

      (If somewhat not so convincing?!)

  15. 45 Huddle says:

    1) New Jersey is never going to let Josh Barnett fight. They are one of the tougher commissions in America.

    2) Strikeforce has to sign Fedor to another long term deal by the end of this week, or M-1 is saying he won’t be ready for that February card.

    3) Werdum vs. Rogers? Are they really serious?

    Strikeforce just doesn’t learn.

  16. mr. roadblock says:

    First thought that comes to mind:

    How much do you want to bet a Tim Sylvia/Ricco Rodriguez rematch fills out the other quarterfinal slot?

    Fedor/Bigfoot and Werdum/Rogers make no sense.

    Rogers has lost 2 in a row. Why fight the guy who just beat Fedor?

    This whole thing is stupid.

    Just have Werdum fight Fedor again. The winner can fight the Arlovski/Barnett winner (of a fight that’s not going to happen) and let the Bigfoot/Rogers winner fight a guy who loses one of the other fights.

  17. edub says:

    So Overeem is just fighting the tournament winner.

    Let me get this straight: Fedor and Fabricio Werdum are participating in a tournament with the end goal of facing Alistair Overeem. Something about that statement just doesn’t seem right.

    Barnett-Arlovski is about 2 years too late, but it should still be fun. If it gets made.

    I’m gonna LMAO if Rogers KOs Werdum like JDS did.

  18. edub says:

    Junkie just reported that Arlovski is fighting Kharitonov instead of Barnett.

  19. grafdog says:

    “That, along with the fact that state athletic commissions aren’t supportive of the idea of a multi-fight one-night tournament format.”

    Maybe you forgot about the four women tournament strikeforce had a while back that Miesha Tate won. Yamma also had a eight man one night tournament and the ifc eight man mw tournament that Babalu won was incredible. While the last two of three tournaments did not spell future success for either ifc or yamma they did provide multiple appearances by the fighters in one night which is more than your average strikforce fighter gets in a year.

    So as much as i’d like to scoff at the idea of a HW tourney i’d rather support the idea and see these fighters get more fights. An eight man tourney over two shows would provide that, while simultaneously cementing a #1 contender for the belt.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Please tell me you did not use YAMMA as a “precedent” for one night tournaments, notwithstanding the fact that it was a total joke.

      The preliminary fights were limited to 1 x 5 min. round, with the finals being a 3 x 5 min round.

  20. 45 Huddle says:

    Already MMA Junkie is reporting that Werdum/Rogers isn’t happening in February. So that’s one down.

    They are saying Fedor/Silva is happening, but there has been no report on him re-uping his contract, so I will believe it when I see it. It amazes me how dumb Strikeforce was for even wanting to have him fight for them again after everything that he has pulled over the last 18 months or so….

    Doesn’t exactly feel like a Grand Prix when all 4 of the quarterfinal fights aren’t even happening on the same first card. Just shows how disorganized they are from the start.

    I have a feeling the next 2 months is going to produce a lot of news that makes fans shake their heads….

    Ed. — 45 and I are on the same wavelength. You can read my thoughts over at Twitter.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And don’t even get me started on how much of a late notice this show is. They are supposed to be making a big announcement tomorrow. That leaves them like 5 1/2 weeks to try and promote the show, sell tickets, and create hype.

      Are you kidding me? This is supposed to be their “Major Tournament”…. And they give fans a few days more then a month advance for them to get excited about it?

      How can you take this seriously?

      All people have wanted to see over the last 6 months from Strikeforce is either Werdum/Fedor or Overeem/Fedor.

      We had no major Heavyweight boughts from them for over 7 months…. And then they deliver fights we don’t even care to see.

      • Isaiah says:

        Agreed. Who cares about the fact that there will be a bunch of interesting fights? What’s really important is the amount of time that SF has to advertise the first of them and the effectiveness of the hype job. What a joke. I’m so angry at SF for putting on good fights and not promoting them well. Those bastards!

        • Zach Arnold says:

          Agreed. Who cares about the fact that there will be a bunch of interesting fights? What’s really important is the amount of time that SF has to advertise the first of them and the effectiveness of the hype job. What a joke. I’m so angry at SF for putting on good fights and not promoting them well. Those bastards!

          Since June 26th when Werdum beat Fedor, we’ve seen the following:

          – No activity amongst the major players in their HW division (Werdum, Overeem, Fedor) in the promotion. In fact, nobody has fought each other since then and we’re 7 months removed.
          – Promises on multiple occasions to do a Middleweight tournament showcasing their strongest division and they did nothing.
          – Talk of a HW tournament featuring match-ups that so far look like largely a waste of time and few fans who believe it will actually be executed.

          I’ve repeated this mantra before, but I’ll say it again. MMA fans want consistency and competency at the same time from promoters. Not either or, but both. This is why fans struggle to trust Strikeforce. Going into the HW tournament, look at the circumstances regarding fighters they want to book:

          – Overeem has all but declared Japan as his home base. Hell, he wanted a token DREAM title to beat Todd Duffee and got it. Strikeforce is not his #1 concern. It’s a side deal.
          – Fedor is negotiating and acting as if he’s in a position of strength despite his loss to Werdum. That’s incredible. Even more incredible is the idea of M-1 getting onto Showtime, which would weaken Strikeforce’s position on the network.
          – Barnett is having licensing issues in California and can’t fight on the promotion’s 1/29 San Jose event.
          – Brett Rogers… is Brett Rogers.

          Do we need to continue here?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Is Werdum/Rogers interesting? Nope. Everybody wants to see Werdum vs. Overeem or Fedor.

          Is Arlovski/Sergei interesting? Perhaps in 2007. Not today. Arlovski is shot and Sergei hasn’t been to his 2005 since…. well 2005.

          Is Fedor/Silva interesting? Decent fight. But once again not the fight people wanted to see Fedor in the most after not fighting for 7 months.

          Sorry if I don’t get hyped up about this Grand Prix when it is being brought to us by the combined brain power that brought us the Strikeforce Middleweight Grand Prix and the Super 6 Tournaments.

          When you put your biggest division on hold for over a half year, and then come back with fights nobody wants to see…. Along with the fact that deep down we all know there is no guarantee of the Quarterfinals going on perfectly, not to mention the semi’s or finals. Which means we are likely to have to wait a year minmum for the fights we want to see… And that is best case. The most likely chance is that we never see them at all.

          On a side note…. Forgive me if I don’t get excited at a tournament that looks like it came out of 2005. This would have been a thing of dreams 6 years ago. But not so much right now…

          Josh Barnett’s last top tier win was in September 2006 against Nogueira.

          Sergei’s last top tier win was in September 2007 against Alistair Overeem. And that is stretching it because Overeem wasn’t Top tier then.

          Brett Rogers? Barely got past Warpath. We now know like Gabriel Gonzaga that he was a one hit wonder.

          Arlovski is completely gone. His career is over.

          This would have been the holy grail of tournaments in 2005. This is a lot of names of the past who aren’t what they once were.

        • Isaiah says:

          I truly do not care about promotional stuff or what “fans want.” I’m a fight fan. So the only point that touches my interest there was about Rogers. He’s not a really good fighter. So what? He does have a big win and a decent record. I’m not offended at the idea of watching him fight.

          All of those fights are interesting to me. Fedor/Silva is maybe the only one that’s currently significant, unless Werdum were to get upset, but then the next round gets even more interesting. Really, I don’t see why a fight fan would be upset about this. I think you’re so caught up in these internet propaganda wars that you’ve lost perspective.

        • There really isn’t a lot of things you can negatively say about this card that you can’t say about pretty much every UFC card. Apparently, however, its the job of the MMA media to repeat UFC party lines because, uhh, they are more consistent with the message.

          Like Isaiah, I’m not really excited for a lot of these fights, but Kharitonov/Arlovski will probably be kind of fun and Fedor/Antonio Silva could define Fedor’s post-PRIDE legacy. Its certainly every bit as live a fight as Werdum was, and look how that went. I’m not gonna skip this because Dana White isn’t as convincing when he lies about how good someone is.

        • Err, because Dana White is more convincing.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          You know what Alan? You are right! Dana White has been corrupting my mind!!

          Since Werdum choked out Fedor, we have only seen such low level stuff from Dana White such as….

          That fight between #1 ranked Brock Lesnar and Top 5 challenger Shane Carwin.

          That fight between #1 ranked Brock Lesnar and Top 5 Cain Velasquez.

          And they were already trying to book that fight between Cain Velasquez (#1 ranked) and Top 10 Junior Dos Santos, who happens to have a blow out win over #2 or #3 ranked Fabricio Werdum.

          Darn that Dana White!! He got us again!!

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Who put Arlovski/Kharitonov as being on the same level as Carwin/Lesnar? It certainly wasn’t me. On the other hand, people go gaga on forums anytime the UFC books fights for the Lytles and Lebens of the world. If anything, Kharitonov/Arlovski is a better fight than Leben/Stann, which I saw precious few complaints about in the media or on varying message boards prior.

          Now, Werdum/Overeem is very argurably a battle for the linear heavyweight title. I’d say it is. If that comes off, it sure seems to me as if it were a high level bout.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “If anything, Kharitonov/Arlovski is a better fight than Leben/Stann, which I saw precious few complaints about in the media or on varying message boards prior.”

          Which I will add that people were saying if Leben won, he should/could be in consideration for the title picture in 2011…

        • And anyone making the claim that Leben should have been in title contention would be mentally ill, Gaijin. I’ve seen more than enough suggestions that Lytle should be built for a title shot and that he should be put in a fight with Thiago Alves to know this.

  21. Coyote says:

    I hear that is not Barnett, is gonna be Kharitonov vs Arlovski.

    Dont be lazy Zach, write another article please.

    They can take Werdum and Overeem out, and make them fight for the tittle. Put better Del Rosario and Cormier to work on the tournament.

    But, at least. Is #Strikeforce saying yes to this “Seudo-Torneo”? I think is better is they just say Silva vs Fedor.

  22. I have no problem with Strikeforce booking a tournament informally by having a vision of where these guys will go after they win fights. But putting brackets together and all that? Pfff.

    Part of the problem I think with talking about Del Rosario being in the tournament is that means that Del Rosario doesn’t get his hand held and get gifted a shot after building up a attractive record. If Del Rosario gets put into a fight with, I dunno, pick someone in the tournament, and loses, everyone will sit there and talk about how stupid it was of Strikeforce to waste his talent or whatever.

    They’re gonna give him bums like they did Cung Le for awhile. Now, Cormier is different. He’s old. He needs to take tough fights now and I think his management will be more accommodating.

  23. 45 Huddle says:

    Here is my prediction for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix….

    Fedor/Silva and Arlovski/Sergei go off without any problems.

    For the next card, one of the fights has an issue of happening.

    From there, it spirals out of control. They will get a replacement but not a good one.

    And then trying to put together the Semi-finals will be a complete mess and sour everybody the entire Grand Prix.

  24. The Gaijin says:

    I predict this will be like the Super Six tournament – and I mean that in the worst way possible.

    • edub says:

      Hey hey hey, we’ll still get a good final.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Sorry – I wasn’t really trying to sh*t on the Super Six, I agree we’ll get a pretty good finals…what I was alluding to is my expectation that we’ll probably end up with a lot more of the negatives than the positives that came out of that tournament. For example, everyone fought that was able to, and while there was some negotiations and tense moments no one pulled out to protect themselves (in a promotional sense)…my feeling is we’ll get a lot of protectionist negotiations and pull-out along with the injury bugs and other things that are outside of everyone’s control. And I don’t think we’ll even have the benefit of seeing some guys stock rise like we did with Ward and Dirrell.

  25. The Gaijin says:

    Apparently now they’ve set up the first round and have decided to say “f**k any seedings”:


    Hey…I’m sure some people will still get all weak in the knees over this, but I will remain skeptical until they finish the first round and then come up for another breath before I start holding it all over again.

    • Isaiah says:

      If the fights don’t happen, obviously, it’ll be disappointing. If they do happen, it’s great news for fight fans. But congratulations on your emotional detachment.

      • The Gaijin says:

        11 times burned, 12th time shy my friend.

        I’ve tried to be as positive about Strikeforce as possible, but it becomes abundantly clear with each and every event/news story/Fedor-M-1-Overeem negotiation that the UFC is about the only place that can make the fights that fans want to see happen or that should happen. And I’ll say of course that they also make a lot of fights I don’t care for or that I don’t think are the ones that should be made, but at least they get the key ones right.

        Strikeforce has been a sh*tload of talk that gets people thinking they’ll actually do something, and very little action. There is a 90% chance this is going to end up a huge, unsatisfying clusterf*ck – so that’s why I’m going to be very reserved in my “excitement”.

  26. edub says:

    Just announced Werdum-Overeem and supposedly Barnett-Rogers.

    You gotta admit that IF (I wish I could make that in size 150 font) this tournament goes through without much problem, than it will be pretty awesome. And if Werdum, fedor, or Overeem win then they should be considered the best HW in the world.

    As long as it doesn’t take 3 years.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      mmalogic made a great point on this. I know some people don’t buy into him knowing as much as he does, but he basically said that the tournament makes no sense.

      Just do Overeem/Werdum for the title and Fedor/Silva for a #1 contenders fight. And then do the rest of the fights in the background to build up future contenders.

      He also doesn’t think they will risk the winners of Fedor/Silva and Werdum/Overeem for the finals.

      Which would kind of kill the entire point of the tournament if they stack one side of their brackets with all their best Heavyweights and the other side with all of their worst.

      • Isaiah says:

        mmalogic is a troll on a forum for casual and/or stupid fans. But if he thinks the tournament “makes no sense,” I guess we should all stop wanting to see the fights.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Doesn’t matter what you think of him.

          His opinion on this one is spot on….

        • Isaiah says:

          It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of him. He’s still a message-board troll. If you agree with his opinion, defend on its merit. You sound like a loser quoting the ridiculous opinion of an Internet troll.

          What does it mean to say that the tournament “makes no sense”? They shouldn’t do it? Don’t watch it, if you don’t want to see it. Obviously, it has gotten the hardcore fans buzzing. People who like MMA (talking about the actual sport, as opposed to promoters) and follow it closely are excited about this. People who want to play armchair promoter on the Internet generally are happiest being miserable anyway.

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        Well, he doesn’t know much of what he claims to, as can be determined by his poor rate on predictions. Its gawdawful.

        Frankly, the tournament format doesn’t bother me. Strikeforce gets their biggest fights out of the way and in doing so will present a respectable challenger on a win streak in the finals. Nothing to complain about there in my mind, should it actually happen.

      • The Gaijin says:

        “mmalogic made a great point on this. I know some people don’t buy into him knowing as much as he CLAIMS HE does,”

        fixed that for ya… 🙂

  27. Dave says:

    I don’t get this tournament, I don’t get it one bit. The same deal as before with writers screaming at people to like this and it is sickening. What makes it worse is because it is guys like Gross and Helwani, people are just supposed to accept this and like it.

    This isn’t PRIDE, this is Strikeforce, nothing they do comes out as planned. Every fight that involves the title is 5 rounds, the rest are 3 rounds.

    On top of that, let’s say Barnett can’t get licensed, do they really use those “reserve” fighters? Then let’s say M-1 decides to flake, again. It sounds like M-1’s contract is with Showtime, NOT with Strikeforce. Then of course, imagine if one of them gets injured. Say Overeem or Werdum get injured, do they then create an interim title in a tournament to create a champion when they already have a champion?

    The fights are great, on way to question that, but there are so many variables.

  28. The Gaijin says:

    Uhhh…just saw that they released the bracket for the “World HW Grand Prix” and WTF?! the top 4 fighters are all on the same side of the bracket…why not just make it a 4 man tourney if that’s the case.

    I guess they want to ensure one of their Three Kings makes it to the finals and is built up and heavily favored by the time they arrive. Not a bad effort at marketing I guess…

    • 45 Huddle says:

      So this isn’t a tournament at all.

      1) Fights in the same round aren’t happening at the same time.

      2) Not all fights are the same length during the same rounds.

      3) The brackets are completely one sided.

      If this wasn’t called a tournament, there plan would actually work better. The matchmaking scenarios work. but by calling it a tournament, they are setting themselves up for failure. Now if something doesn’t happen the correct way, they look silly.

      It’s no different then the UFC having Lesnar/Carwin fight the winner of Valesquez/Nogueira. And then the winner of Dos Santos/Nelson waiting in the balance. But if somebody got hurt or something else happened they had a way to redo things because nothing was established from the beginning.

      And this is a dangerous move when they have M-1 and Overeem into the equation. Not to mention no official dates yet for some of the fights….

      • 45 Huddle says:

        I will say Werdum/Overeem and Fedor/Silva fights are good. It’s the proper matchmaking everybody has been talking about.

        It just doesn’t belong in a tournament format the way they are presenting it.

        And my lack of faith of actually seeing the winners fight…. Especially if it is Overeem and Fedor… Really gives me a wait and see approach to all of this.

        • Isaiah says:

          Hmm. So it’s good matchmaking but because they call it a “tournament” it angers you? Just relax and enjoy the fights, chum. Your life will be a lot more pleasant.

      • Dave says:

        Thank you, 45 Huddle for understanding why this is so dumb. Just DON’T CALL IT A TOURNAMENT. Book the fights and ahve the best fight.

        What gets me is, the Overeem/Werdum fight doesn’t have a date yet, so is it even a contracted fight yet? Probably not. Could easily fall apart.

  29. Zack says:

    “2) Not all fights are the same length during the same rounds.”

    Apparently the Pride 2000 GP wasn’t a tourney.

    • Dave says:

      Leave Royce out of it.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Look at how well that turned out. Sakuraba threw in the towel after 1 round with Igor. Fujita threw in the towel like 5 seconds into his fight with Coleman.

      Tournaments don’t work.

      I loved the Pride Grand Prix 2000. But that was also because of Sakuraba/Gracie…. Which really is a boring fight but the magnitude of that fight overweighed all of the negatives.

      But this isn’t 11 years ago. The sport has changed. The caliber of fighters has greatly increased.

      Everything needs to be uniform for a tournament to work…. And even then it mostly doesn’t.

      • So the commercial implications of Sakuraba beating Royce in his rules are ignored, but we must consider the commercial implications of the Srikeforce tourney above all else in discussing it. Yeah. OK.

        • Isaiah says:

          Commercial implications are significant when it is helpful to 45’s Internet propaganda war. Not when they aren’t.

          As for me, I don’t give a darn about commercial implications except in a very abstract way. Give me interesting fights, and I’m happy.

        • edub says:

          So comparing a tournament that happened 11 years ago, was completed on a single night, and happened in a different country to one that is being scheduled today is valid?

  30. Zack says:

    “So comparing a tournament that happened 11 years ago, was completed on a single night, and happened in a different country to one that is being scheduled today is valid?”

    Apparently you missed the first round…and I was responding to a single one of his specific points.


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