It's harder than you might think to find a photo of Scott Coker with his heavyweight champ. Photo by Sherdog.
Yeah so Strikeforce under-achieved with their heavyweight roster in 2010. Champion Alistair Overeem only defended his belt once, against fresh-off-a-loss Brett Rogers in May, after having gone more than two years without a title defense.
High-price superstar/co-promtional partner Fedor Emelianenko sat out the April Strikeforce: Nashville event on CBS and thereby doomed it to weak ratings. Then he went on to lose via submission in 69 seconds against Fabricio Werdum and wasn't able to come to terms with the promotion for a second fight in 2010.
The rest of the stacked division got signed and largely consigned to sitting on the shelf. But CEO Scott Coker is telling Sherdog, just wait and see:
"It's very clear in our agreement with Alistair that we have booking priority," Coker said of allowing Overeem to fight in K-1. "So we could have easily said no, but then is it really fair to him? It's a personal goal of his. Let him go try to be the best standup fighter in the world. ... The best strikers in the world fight in K-1 in Japan. He already won his first fight. I thought he looked amazing, and now he's going to go into the finals and fight Tyrone (Spong), who is no joke. I think Alistair is going to have his hands full with that fight, but we're going to support him and we're going to wish him well and hopefully he can win the whole tournament. Then he can come back the Strikeforce champion and the K-1 heavyweight champion. As far as accomplishments, I've never seen that done before."
Coker did not cite specific matchups for the returns of Overeem, Werdum and Fedor, but he expressed some ambitious plans for his heavyweight division in the coming year.
"One thing I can tell you is all these guys ... Alistair, Fedor, Fabricio, Josh Barnett, ‘Bigfoot' (Antonio Silva), (Sergei) Kharitonov, Andrei Arlovski, Brett Rogers, all those guys are all going to fight each other in 2011," Coker said. "We're not going to hold anything back. You're going to see these guys fight the toughest guys because really, if you're a heavyweight, there are no easy fights in Strikeforce. It's arguably the best heavyweight division in the world, and I think Josh Barnett said it best. The competition is here. He signed with us because he wants to fight all those guys. We're going to put those fights together, and I think the fans are going to love it."
Let's hope so. I get frustrated with the incompetence and cross-talk between the camps as their fighters politic for the fights with the most upside, but that's just because I want to see these guys fight. Coker has assembled an extremely impressive, if somewhat older, heavyweight division. Hopefully he'll succeed in putting these guys to work in 2011.