It looks like the Strikeforce is set to give fans another excellent main event and co-main on April 9, sadly neither one of those fights will involve participants in the heavyweight Grand Prix. The Josh Barnett-Brett Rogers and Alistair Overeem-Fabricio Werdum scraps have been moved to Dallas on June 18.
Nick Diaz is expected to defend his welterweight title against Paul Daley in April with Gilbert Melendez defending his lightweight belt against Tatsuya Kawajiri. The card goes down at the San Diego Sports Arena, now known as the Valley View Casino Center.
The fellas at Fight Opinion are livid about the heavyweight tournament change:
Yes, in Texas. Who could have seen that coming? Read that Junkie report and the statement given by Scott Coker. Horrible.
First and foremost, as I stated this morning, there should absolutely be a penalty fee paid by Strikeforce & Showtime to the four fighters in the 'tournament' (Werdum, Barnett, Overeem, Rogers) for this ridiculous two month delay. It no doubt has impacted some of the scheduling for the fighters and their camps. No excuses, it’s time for Scott Coker to pay up.
Josh Gross at ESPN.com spoke with the camps of several fighters. Overeem's manager seemed okay with the change, while Rogers' manager Mike Reilly was a bit pertrubed. It was also interesting to hear Antonio Silva's camp say they want to get their guy another fight, out the tournament, before the fall. Silva pulled the upset on tourney favorite Fedor Emelianenko in February.
Zach at FO hammers Coker for trying to initially place the card in Japan. Clearly, there are issues with Josh Barnett's license. The American heavyweight was suspended in 2009 by the state of California. He still hasn't gotten the license reinstated. It looks like New Jersey and Nevada also had California's back. The solution was running to Japan where the lack of drug testing has always been problematic?
Second, the fact that Scott Coker really did push all of his chips to try to run the April 9th date in Japan is absurd. Yes, I predicted that Strikeforce would try to run some if not all of Barnett’s fights in Japan, but you would have to be a clueless idiot in 2011 to try to run that market — especially if you are a foreigner. What it goes to show you is what a mark Scott Coker is when it comes to Japan to ignore all the realities that were facing him and to proceed ahead as if he was running into a brick wall just for the fun of it. I’m not angry at Mr. Coker, I’m just embarrassed for him at this point.
He also says this will test the trust of some fans.
Third, the delay in the HW GP should absolutely raise red flags in the minds of fans that this ‘tournament’ will even get completed. I’m not saying 100% that it won’t happen be finished, but it certainly has a larger chance of not getting finished within the 2011 calendar frame. [...] Fans should have every right to be upset about the delay and what they may perceive as ‘false advertising’ when it’s really more or less incompetence.
I don’t know how many times I need to repeat this, but I will do so again: MMA fans want competency and consistency. Not one or the other, but both. Demonstrate that and you will win over fan trust.
Is this just a short delay in scheduling or something more sinister that leaves you frustrated with Strikeforce?