For the past few weeks, there have been on going rumors and rumblings that Scott Coker has been trying to set up a show in Japan. Now, it's closer to reality, as Real Entertainment will be helping them send the second round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix to Japan this April. MMA-Japan has it:
Strikeforce will make their Japanese debut April 10th, 2011 during the afternoon hours in order to be shown live in the United States.
The fight card will consist of a lightweight portion, and the heavyweight grand prix second round.
Strikeforce will be working with Real Entertainment and possibly M-1 to co-promote the planned event.
Strikeforce's original plans for the second round of the heavyweight tournament is to feature Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers, and with M-1 being mentioned in the report, it looks like they're also trying to put a Fedor Emelianenko bout in as well. This could provide a few benefits as most of these guys are already mainstays in the Japanese MMA circuit, and more conveniently, it also solves Barnett's licensing issues.
The report also brings validation to the rumors about a possible Real Entertainment + Strikeforce Lightweight Grand Prix that's in the works. While a lightweight tournament certainly wouldn't be as stacked and as meaningful as their Heavyweight counterparts, Strikeforce can still make it very interesting. They can send a few of their top guys like Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson, and KJ Noons, along with the other Japanese names being linked to the tourney, like Tatsuya Kawajiri, Shinya Aoki, and Katsunori Kikuno.
All in all, if Coker pulls this off, he deserves a ton of praise, but since we are talking about Japanese MMA (and possibly M-1 Global), I'll wait for more details before celebrating.
UPDATE: Satoshi Ishii has been rumored to join Strikeforce, and while this card seemed to be a perfect fit for his debut, Nightmare of Battle says the Olympic Gold Medalist is unlikely to participate. They say Ishii may just compete on the March 5 card headlined by Dan Henderson and Rafael Feijao:
Strikeforce are planning to hold an event in Japan on April 10th but since Ishii will participate in a triathlon at Ishigaki Island on April 17th he most likely won’t be able to participate at the Strikeforce Japan event.
Sponichi report that Satoshi Ishii might participate on the Strikeforce March 5th event in Colombus.