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Scott Coker: Showtime has been great for the sport

By Zach Arnold | January 7, 2011

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From The Fight Show on The Score yesterday:

INTERVIEWER: “Let’s first talk about the Heavyweight tournament. It’s been announced. Some great match-ups. Can you talk to us about the process to put this together?”

SCOTT COKER: “Boy, I tell you, it was pretty challenging as you could expect. I mean, you’re dealing with eight different personalities, eight different managers, eight different wants & needs. But, BUT, the most important piece I feel was the extension to Fedor because we couldn’t have Fedor come into the tournament unless we had more fights with him. To have him through the tournament and, you know, that took a long time, was quite a process. Frustrating for them, I’m sure frustrating for us, frustrating for the fans because he hasn’t been fighting. But now that we’re through that, you know, to have Fedor actually fight in the tournament along with Alistair (Overeem) and (Fabricio) Werdum and Josh, I mean it’s just going to be an unbelievable tournament and I’m so happy this all worked out and it’s unfolding nicely and, you know, we’re in the New York region for the first time, in New Jersey at the Izod Center. It’s going to be fun to watch. That’s all I got to say.”

INTERVIEWER: “And, of course, Alistair Overeem is going to be in this tournament. He will be defending his title throughout the tournament, kind of like the Super Six World Boxing Classic but, uh, I mean there’s a lot of debate about this, should he have been defending his title, should he not have been. To me, it seems academic, I mean if he didn’t we’d be waiting for a very long time before he did defend this title. Is that your thought process as well?”

SCOTT COKER: “Well, here’s the thing, as you know in Japan there’s always, you know, the tournament champion and then there’s like the champion, the Heavyweight champion in K-1. So, to me, you know, if Alistair chose not to do it, I would have been disappointed but, you know, he wanted to fight in this tournament and that’s the beauty of it is that everybody wanted to fight in the tournament. Fedor wanted in. It wasn’t like we had to go ask them twice. It was like, hey, we’re having this tournament, we would like you to compete. It’s going to be all these guys that are just killers, and not one of them said no. Everybody said I want in, even Alistair said. Alistair went to me when I was in DREAM in Japan over the weekend, on New Year’s Eve. He said to me, ‘Scott, I want in. But I want to fight Fabricio Werdum. I want to avenge that loss and I want to knock him out.’ And I said, all right, let’s put it together. … So, there we go.”

INTERVIEWER: “And that’s exactly what’s happening. And do you think that this tournament will possibly lead to Strikeforce hosting a PPV in 2011?”

SCOTT COKER: “You know, I tell you, that’s a good question and you know my response is this — look, we’re on Showtime. They’ve been a great media partner for us, a great television partner, they’ve been, you know, they’re just great for the sport and for our brand and you know they allow us to put all these great fights together and you know the first two rounds, which are the quarter-finals are going to be on Showtime and we’ll take it from there.”

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 38 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

38 Responses to “Scott Coker: Showtime has been great for the sport”

  1. Steve4192 says:

    I hope this tournament works out for them.

    I really do.

    But I have a sneaking suspicion that M-1 is going to want to renegotiate after each round, Overeem is going to frustrated when the Fedor fight gets dragged out and run back to kickboxing, and counting on Barnett to pass three consecutive whiz quizzes is like counting on a pedophile to pick up your kids from school. Werdum is the only reliable guy of the lot.

    It’s more than likely going to end badly.

    • Its possible. It may also be that any M-1 shows on Showtime are tied to Fedor participating in the tournament. If they decide that he pulls out, so goes their TV money.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Is that really motiviation for M-1?

        • Wasn’t there a big story in 2010 about how M-1 was losing investors and looking for money? Showtime money is real money – the kind of money that can keep you afloat if a casino isn’t keeping you upright already.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Yeah, but we are not talking about a logical group here. This is the same group that withheld Fedor off of CBS and then let him fight on Showtime….

          Excuse me if I don’t believe they wouldn’t kill their TV for more negotiations with Fedor. They already know Showtime and Strikeforce are weak because they have put up with these antics so many times before.

      • robthom says:

        They’re gonna have m1 shows on showtime now?

        I dont think that I can support that.

        My impression is that they’re jerks and I dont support jerks.

  2. Nepal says:

    Honestly I like the match pairings. I’m happy Fedor, Overeem and Werdum are in the same bracket. This way, we get to more quickly see the winner of Overeem/Werdum fight Fedor (if all things go according to plan).

    This will be the highlight of the tourney and when the winner fights the winner of the weaker half, that’s kind of just like any old fight but I’ll watch it. But we are guaranteed (lol) to have 2 great first rounds of the tournament.

    • robthom says:

      Its a good tourney.

      Its actually better then a pride tourney.
      These are the kind of brackets pride should have had if they hadn’t been designed by such shifty weasels.

      The only shame is roidnett getting another easy pass.
      He’s become the uncrowned greatest HW in the world on them.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    Scott Coker is crazy to even be thinking about PPV.

    Nobody has had success on PPV in this sport except the UFC. Could it happen someday? Perhaps? But I wouldn’t want to try until it is proven. It’s a suicide mission.

    Not to mention if they did their card on CBS, the UFC won’t counter program. I’m not saying that’s an option, but the UFC just won’t counterprogram CBS.

    But if they go on PPV, guaranteed the UFC puts on either a free card on SpikeTV that is stacked…. Or just puts on their own PPV at the very same time…. Which I think would cripple Strikeforce even more.

    Which is why I really think Scott Coker is in desperation mode at this point. Coker knows the MMA business. He might not have all of his ducks in a row, but the guy knows the business. He knows exactly what the UFC will do if they go on PPV. And he knows it won’t be pretty. So for him to be saying they still want to do it makes me think they are out of options at this point and need to do something to make things work. Nothing else explains it….

  4. Coyote says:

    I dont know why anybody is giving a chance to Silva for the Upset? Its smart for Strikeforce to give to Fedor hard fights, M-1 is losing force and another loose can leave them in very bad position.

    This tournament is a do or die chance for Arlovski and Barnett, is the best way to reborn! For Overeem, Werdum and Fedor is legacy, for Silva is getting his place on the top 3.

    And i repeat, Silva is gonna sold the win very very expensive. I bet for him over Fyodor.

    • robthom says:

      I think Bigfoot has a hell of a chance.

      Fed has let himself get rusty.

      Bigfoot can get caught on the chin as we’ve seen, but he doesn’t go out.

      He just has to make sure to avoid the sylvia scenario for the first few minutes until he gets the rhythm down and Fedor settles in. His chin (which there is nothing wrong with) should be safe after that.

      If Bigfoot brings the speed and confidence that he used to shut down AA I can see him pulling it out.

      • robthom says:

        He’s got a stunner chin.
        He can get stunned like sylvia and leben.

        But thats not the flaw of a glass chin like AA. You can fight through a stun like sylvia and Leben do all the time.

  5. David M says:

    This is just an awesome tournament, point blank period. I hope that with Cain out the UFC does a tournament to determine the number 1 contender for when he gets back. There is something to be said for knowing the fights that are going to happen and having drama because of a pre-determined lineup.

  6. edub says:

    Imagine if you will a perfect world, with a perfect GP:

    1. Cain Velasquez vs. Sergei Kharitonov
    2. Brock Lesnar vs. Brendan Scaub
    3. Fabricio Werdum vs. Roy Nelson
    4. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett
    5. Junior Dos Santos vs. Brett Rogers
    6. Shane Carwin vs. Big Foot Silva
    7. Frank Mir vs. Andrei Arlovski
    8. Alistair Overeem vs. Big Nog

    And let it play out from there!

    • David M says:

      There is no way Brock is #2.

      Further Carwin should be in your top 16; take Nog or Arlovski’s corpses out and put him in.

      I honestly think right now that J2S is the best hw in the world. He reminds me of Arlovski if AA had a chin and better takedown defense.

      • edub says:

        David he’s in there at #6 man, facing Big foot Silva in the first round.

        I go back in forth on having Brock at #2 or #4. Werdum and fedor should probably be both ahead so #4 is probably better you’re right.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Heavyweight Division is just in a sad state.

      Nogueira, Cro Cop, & Arlovski are washed up.

      Sergei & Barnett haven’t had big wins for years (literally).

      Rogers was a one hit wonder that can barely beat scrubs right now.

      Schaub isn’t exactly a great fighter.

      And Lesnar is afraid to get hit. And he fights for a living.

      That’s half of the field right there….

      • edub says:

        Yep and half of the top 8 for each of the two top HW divisions in MMA.

        I don’t really think any of those guys would win. I just like the concept of a 16 person GP style tournament, and I took the 8 fighters competing in SF’s tourny and plugged them in with what IMO are the UFC’s top 8 HWs.

        Some other random HWs you could use are Dave Herman, cole konrad, Pat Barry, Shane Del rosario, or Daniel Cormier.

  7. Steve4192 says:

    My only problem with this tournament is that all the fights for each round are not being held on the same card. Part of the fun of a tournament is watching an entire round in one night and then ruminating on how the next round will pan out. That was what was cool about watching ‘Total Elimination’ and ‘Critical Countdown’ shows in Pride.

    Having the tournament fights spread piecemeal across multiple cards is going to take away some of that special tournament vibe.

    • robthom says:

      “…all the fights for each round are not being held on the same card.”


      Spreading out the fights over events is the only thing that justifies it.

      • Steve4192 says:

        “Spreading out the fights over events is the only thing that justifies it.”

        Care to elaborate?

        I honestly don’t understand what you are trying to say.

        • Because you can run the tournament as a headliner to 5 different shows.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Do they even have 5 good markets they can use that can bring them in a high enough gate for it?

          And if Barnett keeps winning, that will only make it tougher…. They won’t even be able to go to California for 3 of the 5 events….

        • You don’t need 5 good markets. And in referencing Barnett, well, what if he is totally shot and goes out in round 1 of the tourney? I’m sure they’ll find somewhere else to go, whether its Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, whatever. This is with the assumption that California doesn’t clear Barnett.

  8. Paradoxx says:

    Coker knows this tounrey will fall apart eventually, thats why he stacked the 1st half.

    After the winners of Overeem/werdum and Silva/Fedor fight, the tourney is really over.

    • Mr. Roadblock says:

      One of the guys from the other half of the bracket can emerge as a great #1 contender. Especially if Kharitonov can reel off two KO’s.

      You are right however that the ‘finals’ will be a little bit of a let down most likely.

      But I’m looking forward to the Fedor/Silva vs Overeem/Werdum bracket.

      • Paradoxx says:

        I’m hoping for a Kharnitov win streak too..

        I like him and its the only way the 2nd bracket generates any real interest.

      • robthom says:

        “Especially if Kharitonov can reel off two KO’s.”

        I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will be the inspiration to bring back the old Kharitonov.

  9. Anthony says:

    i wish the best of luck, but there is a 1000lb gorilla in the room. sometimes it just better to stay the underdog.,.

    • robthom says:

      The Brock?

      • The Gaijin says:


        • 45 Huddle says:

          Ding Ding Ding!! We have a winner.

        • David M says:

          no doubt counter-programming could eat into their audience, but what choice do they have? They want to put on the best product they can, and this tournament is better than anything the UFC is producing, so hopefully fans will be educated enough to support a promotion that is taking risks and putting together great heavyweight fights.

        • The Gaijin says:

          @ David M – you’re right, there’s nothing they can do about it. Just realizing that as the online community is hyped up about this and the possibility that it will gain some traction for Strikeforce, no doubt the UFC has taken notice and will counterprogram this (and the planned PPV). Unfortunately for SF, when you have the 1000-lb gorilla that is the UFC brand, it’s going to significantly deflate SF’s ability to gain the eyes of the casual audience without them really stepping up their promotion/awareness.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          This Tournament is better then anything the UFC is producing?

          The UFC’s February card is better then Strikeforce’s Fedor card.

          The April show is shaping up to be better then anything Strikeforce could potentially put on for their Overeem main event.

          And have you seen the rumored March and May PPV main cards? They are hitting home run after home run this year with their planned cards so far (except for Jan 1st which on paper was a dud after Aldo pulled out).

          Let’s not get carried away.

          As for the PPV…. That is why I keep on saying Strikeforce must be desperate. They know the UFC is going to hurt them when they go on PPV. Which means they must really be in need of some money to take such a huge risk.

        • notthface says:

          I think there is no comparison between the quality of a UFC card and a Strikeforce card. The UFC cards are generally, top-to-bottom, much stronger. I will say two things:
          1) The HW tournament is a better, “fairer’, and more “legitimate” way to book matches for a champ. Some have said it isn’t a tournament, but it is a tournament, a ‘Challenge Tournament”. The Overeem/Werdum match is a title match, the Fedor/Bigfoot match is a #1 contenders match, and the other bracket are the next four highest ranked fighters in the promotion competing to be the next challenger. It is how chess crowns its grandmaster and how for years boxing crowned the lineal champion. It is a much more transparent method than arbitrarily picking who gets the next title shot and making fighters compete time and time again until on a whim they’ve entered contenders class. I hope the UFC takes note and imitates it.
          2) For the price of one Hi-Def UFC ppv – $55 – you could order Showtime and watch the Strikeforce; Diaz vs Cyborg, Fedor vs Sylvia, Feijao vs Hendo, Overeem vs Werdum, and all the Challenger cards. That seems like a pretty good deal.

          Also, I don’t think Coker wanting to do ppv should be a surprise. That has been their plan since day 1. It’s Showtime’s plan since they would be the ppv provider. it is what Bellator wants to do. Its the reason anyone tries become a major promotion in the first place. There is too much money to be made in ppv not to try to do it. Hell, a 150,000 selling ppv would net SF 3 times what Showtime pays them right now..

  10. Jonathan says:

    I agree

  11. Chuck says:

    I just read at Bloody Elbow that Scott Coker is planning on having all of the tournament fights being five rounds, because the Overeem/Werdum fight is still for the Strikeforce title, and as will the other two fights that have to do with the belt.

    Very interesting. I still predict that Arolovski will go to sleep by the second round against Kharitonov. But it definitely changes what can happen in the Fedor/Silva fight. I predicted a three round decision win for Fedor, but with an extra two rounds he can probably stop Silva within the distance. I doubt Silva would be able to outbox Fedor like he barely did against Arolovski. And Arolvski was SHOT in that fight.


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