Not even the most Subo-kian of haters can say they're not excited for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
The winner might be able to lay claim to the ultimate title, better than any crown or belt, the fact that he would be the greatest heavyweight fighter in the world.
But the underside of such glory is that there are many, many people whose fortunes would rise or fall with the victory or defeat of each combatant.
So let's take a look, shall we? Who stands to win and/or lose by each fighter's ultimate victory.
Winners: K-1, Dream, Japan
If The Reem conquers the tournament, that would easily lay a claim to the #1 Heavyweight in the world, especially with Velasquez possibly still hurt by then and not competing. It also gains K-1 and Dream huge credibility as having the top heavyweight in the world as their champion. He'd be a huge draw and the gaijin that brings the crowds to Japanese events. Notice how I didn't say Strikeforce in the winners. It would be a coup to have the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion run roughshod over the competition, but Overeem has so many irons in the fire, that, like currently, you'll be lucky if he defends his title once a year. I'm sure Coker would prefer a HW Champ that has his promotion as his top priority.
Winners: UFC, ?
Arlovski, to me, is a mystery. Obviously, the man's mental stability is a topic of constant conversation, so who knows what he'll do? Even if he wins the tournament, I don't think it's enough to claim the #1 Heavyweight ranking, or even 2 or 3. He's lost three in a row, all to, coincidentally, participants in the tourney. I don't know if he'll reward Strikeforce for taking a chance on him and stay with them, try to get back into the UFC, or retry his hand in K-1. Either way, he's a damned enigma at this point. The reason I have UFC as a winner is because it's win-win for them. If Arlovski wants to come back, they can claim that even a former champion who hasn't fought for them in over three years can still win Strikeforce's tournament and he has a lot of momentum if he wants to return. If Arlovski doesn't want to come back, the UFC still has probably the #1 and #2 heavyweights in the world, and Dana can discredit Strikeforce by saying a washed-up has-been, russian roulette-playing, glass-chin won their tourney.
Winners: Strikeforce, Strikeforce, Strikeforce, and STRIKEFORCE.
This may be the best case scenario for Scott Coker, aside from maybe Rogers. If Silva wins this tournament, that means he will have beaten Fedor, beaten Overeem/Werdum, and whoever comes out of the East Bracket. He has two things that seperate him from most heavyweights. First, he's never been in the UFC, so Dana can't play the "we cut him, washout" card, and he's beaten a host of former UFC champs and contenders (Arlovski, Cabbage, Eilers, Ricco and possibly Barnett or Arlovski again). Silva has had three fights in Strikeforce, making him one of the most homegrown heavies they have, and him winning damages M-1's leverage, and Overeem/Werdum's value if they wanted to go to the UFC. Even better for Strikeforce, Silva doesn't have international committments (Overeem), shady management (Fedor), athletic commission issues (Barnett), mental issues (Arlovski), or Strikeforce uncertainty (Kharitonov). It's a fantastic situation for Strikeforce if Bigfoot wins.
See above, only multiply it by 10. Rogers is the most homegrown heavyweight they have, and would ideally be the best Heavyweight Champion for Strikeforce. Plus Rogers speaks English and has his Sam's Club backstory for the "rags to riches" tale and would be the first major American-born black MMA Heavyweight Champion in twelve years.
Winners: Strikeforce, Brazil
Losers: UFC, K-1
You really can't call Werdum a UFC washout. He was very successful in the octagon, plus he did something nobody ever did, make Fedor quit. If he wins, that means he beat Overeem, which is something nobody's done in over three years. Werdum's resume is already outstanding and has a right to be the #1 Heavyweight in the world. Win this, and it's undisputed. Not even Dana and Cain/JDS/Brock/Carwin can stake a claim. Werdum would also be the first major Brazilian Heavyweight champion in over three years (depending on what happens with JDS).
Winners: M-1, Vadim, Strikeforce
Losers: UFC, Strikeforce, K-1
We see it's starting already. Hence why SF is in both the winning and losing category. If my sportsbooks had wagers on whether Fedor would even complete his assigned fights in this tournament, I'd lay the under, and lay it heavy. Assuming and hoping Fedor and company go through the tournament as planned and capture the strap, it's a red-letter day for Strikeforce, who can now call Fedor the Top Heavyweight in the World and rub Dana's nose in it. Dana is a petulent, spoiled child who throws tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants, so imagine his reaction when his favorite toy he couldn't get stands on top of the mountain. He can't "lol" his way out of that. But then again, that leaves the dastardly Vadim and his M-1 crew a ton of power and leverage. They were able to make it work for a new deal and tournament inclusion, I hope as an MMA fan, Scott knows what he's doing.
Winners: UFC, Japan
Let's just out and say it. The reason Coker is looking at Canada, Japan, and Russia for potential destinations is because he knows Barnett won't be able to fight in the States. It's damned stupid that Barnett is even in this tournament, but fine, he's a talented fighter and a big name. He's the perfect guy for someone to build a name off of. BUT...if for some miracle, this cheater who's skipping his CSAC hearing YET AGAIN, wins this, all hell breaks loose. Dana has a chuckle about "the steroid washout who won some worthless tournament the other day", athletic commissions tighten up and may even blacklist Barnett, and Scott Coker is left with his dick in his hand wondering if maybe Dream would co-promote with him to get the strap off Barnett. Put it this way, if Barnett loses to Rogers, Coker will breathe a loud, boisterous sigh of relief like Aleksander Emelianenko's opponents getting a good blood test result.
There's no way Strikeforce looks good if an "unknown" comes in and takes their tournament. No way. They've spent so much time and money promoting other fighters, that if The Paratrooper comes in and takes this, the immediate reaction will be terrible. Plus Kharitonov is a wild card. Who knows what he'll do? He's only had one fight out of 21 on American soil and even that was under the Pride banner. He's never fought for the UFC, I've never heard him speak English, and American casuals have no clue who he is. Sergei is a dangerous entrant. Dream looks great, however. They could theoretically hold claim to the #1 and #2 Heavyweights in the World if Sergei wins this and Overeem reaches the finals. FEG, desperate for money, could certainly draw with a Kharitonov vs. Overeem rematch in Japan.