Strikeforce:Houston turned out to once again show the ineptness of the organization's overall marketing. The show was built around three fan-friendly and marketable fighters that the company was pushing heavily as the future. All three lost, leaving two champions crowned that the casual fan had no idea who they were and their up and coming WWE star beaten by a part time MMA fighter, part time paramedic.
After the event Ariel Helwani caught up with Scott Coker to discuss the night of upsets and the organization's tendency of one-sided marketing when it came to their bouts. He closed the interview asking about rumors of Paul Heyman joining Strikeforce and this is what Coker said.
"Paul and I have been talking about doing a couple things together. If it works out, we'll do it. And I think we'll do it - I think it's going to happen," Coker said with a grin. Coker went on to say "We'll have an announcement in the next couple of weeks."
We are a month out since Coker made this statement. We know that in Strikeforce things move much more slowly than what any of us could hope for. But, it is an interesting situation; what could Paul Heyman bring to the Strikeforce table?
For those who don't know who Paul Heyman is, let me get you caught up. Heyman was the founder of the incredibly violent and innovative professional wrestling organization, ECW. During the Monday Night Wars of the 90's between WWF and WCW Heyman's shoestring organization carved out a niche. The adult themed and ultra-violent style of ECW heavily affected the two much larger organization's presentation of their product as they tried their best to mimic it. He introduced a new era to professional wrestling. He also is the man that made Brock Lesnar a star.
Heyman, first and foremost, is a visionary. He has an uncanny ability to know what the audience wants and exactly how to give it them. He has a finger on the pulse of pop culture, especially the target demographic of 18-35 year old men. If you haven't seen Heyman's interview with Ariel Helwani, it is worth a watch. It is clear that Heyman has a knowledgable grasp of the MMA scene and what the audience craves.
At the ground level, Heyman could come in and immediately impact the well below average television production value of Strikeforce. Everything needs an overhaul. The commentary, vignettes, lighting, music, camera angles, fighter's entrances, everything. Heyman, on a shoestring budget, was able to present compelling weekly television. He used a lot of tricks but each show was dynamic.
Heyman will give the fans what they want. He would not miss an opportunity to pit Mayhem Miller and Nick Diaz against each other and let the trash talk fly between now and then. Of course he could spin gold in rejuvenating Josh Barnett's career. But where I think he would be most useful would be how to build fighters, especially young fighters, with the audience. A raw talent like Daniel Cormier or Shane Del Rosario in his hands could have a steady and meaningful rise to the upper echelon of Strikeforce's heavyweight division as he grooms them personally and sells them to the fans. He wouldn't miss the chance to highlight how good Gil Melendez or Gegard Mousasi really are. He would develop a long term narrative for each of the fighters that pays off as each layer peels back. Strikeforce does not have a clue how to do that.
Heyman's weakness has always been administrative and fortunately that is where Coker excels. Just the patience that Coker has shown with the Heavyweight division displays that and the way he has kept the Showtime relationship going is impressive. Heyman could free Coker from the creative aspects of the company and let Coker be the executive he is. Coker also has the personality of a wet rag. Heyman could easily rival the kind of personality that Dana White is for UFC. As we have witnessed, Dana is the most important personality the company has, it was built on him. Coker could never deliver that kind of charisma. Heyman can.
Now, the hail Mary pass. If there is one thing that Heyman could deliver, if all the stars fell into alignment, is the sport's biggest star, Brock Lesnar. Like I said, this would take a perfect storm of circumstances, but Heyman is close with Brock. Heyman gave Brock a voice when his skills were weak in that area in the WWE days. There is a mutual trust and friendship between the two. They are even writing a book together. They have a relationship that has spanned decades. If anyone could bring Brock to Strikeforce it would be Paul Heyman. Strikeforce's investors and partners at CBS and Showtime would have to come up with a ton of coin. It could be worth it though. How fascinating would it be if the superfight between Brock and Fedor took place in Strikeforce instead of UFC? Is it probable, of course not. But, as we all know, we should never say never.
The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.