On Monday's MMA Hour, Ariel Helwani was hosting Eddie Alvarez over the phone and tied Strikeforce CEO, Scott Coker, in for a confrontation over setting up a fight with Gilbert Melendez. If you don't have the time to give it a look I will fill you in. Basically Alvarez's beef is Gil keeps calling Alvarez out and Alvarez can do nothing about setting up a fight, so he feels he comes off like a punk for ducking Melendez. Coker then goes into a long explanation about different organizations and Gil's hand and about the moon being in Pluto's house, on and on. This just leads to a frustrated Alvarez basically asking Coker to tell Gil to stop picking on him. My point in all of this is why the hell are you talking publicly to fighters from other promotions about your matchmaking in the first place, Coker? WTF?
Ok, I can see it gets a little buzz. A little publicity for Strikeforce with a card coming up. Maybe a build for the fight if and when it does happen. But the bad far outweighs the good for me here. With the way Coker is handling the heavyweight division right now does he really need to shine the spotlight on other matchmaking stutters and starts? What has started to happen for me, as a fan, is I'm now starting to expect Strikeforce will fall short of expectations. Kid Nate's article today about the heavyweight division, and the comments that followed, leads me to believe I'm not the only one.
I really want Strikeforce to succeed. I don't think any of us want them to fail. Deep down. The UFC's roster is pretty full and they are committed to a certain kind of MMA built around their brand. Strikeforce gives us the chance to see exciting fighters like Melendez, Mousasi, Fedor, Overeem, Diaz, etc. that we would not get to see if UFC was left alone in the MMA landscape. It also gives us great women's MMA. Some of their cards are a blast. But, as far as expectations for fights that we want to see I almost always feel like they are going to disappoint me. To have the head of the company go on a popular MMA show and talk about why they can't deliver a fight fans want to see, to me, says that Strikeforce does not have clue one that this is an issue for their fans. It shows they are out of touch with their audience and the pulse of their base. This is when things go terribly awry for any kind of company. You lose touch with your customer's wants and you lose your business.
We don't want to hear Overeem tweet his brother is facing Bigfoot, only to learn a week later that the fight has been nixed. We don't want to hear Fedor, Overeem, and Werdum map out the future for Strikeforce's abundant heavyweight division, while Bigfoot's manager sends open letters to Fedor, M-1 polls fans about who Fedor should face, and Bas Boon goes ballistic on some random internet forum. We don't want to hear about Dan Henderson's frustration with Strikeforce and CBS and his layoff. And I certainly don't want to hear Coker get into a pissing contest with a fighter from another organization on a MMA show. Get it together. Get your fighters under control. If you can't be the legit face of the organization and give it some direction then hire someone who can. We want fights. Not rumors, not prognosticating, not complainers. Fights. You know the ones we want to see. Book them. Now. Don't go on Helwani's show, or any other, till you do. To paraphrase from the Bard: "The fight is the thing."