Scott Coker today confirmed earlier reports from Sherdog that the second installment of the Heavyweight Grand Prix will not take place on April 9th. For weeks MMA sites have speculated wildly about what is going on with that event. There had been talk of holding it in Japan, returning to California, cancelling it. Now it's much more clear.
Josh Gross has more:
"We just ran out of time," Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said Tuesday, referring to the second leg of its Heavyeight Tournament quarterfinal round. "I didn't find a venue that we thought would work for everybody, so we decided to move it."
"We're in a situation now where we have a good three-and-a-half to four months to promote the fight and do a great job of having a shot of driving the rating and driving attendance," Coker said.
The date change, which was first reported as a possibility by Sherdog.com on Feb. 21, pushes the tournament semifinals back to mid-September, with the finals penciled in for early December, Coker said.
"I would like to conclude it by the end of the year," said Coker, who was in the hospital after falling ill last week. "... I feel bad for the fighters but as a promoter I'm happy we have more time. I think with those heavyweights and the proper amount of time, we're really going to have our best shot of recreating the success we had in New Jersey."
MMA Junkie adds:
Coker stated the April 9 event instead features two title fights: welterweight champ Nick Diaz (24-7 MMA, 5-0 SF) defends his title against Paul Daley (27-9-2 MMA, 2-0 SF), and lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez (18-2 MMA, 8-1 SF) defends his belt against Tatsuya Kawajiri (27-6-2 MMA, 0-0 SF).
A venue for the April 9 event has not been determined, a Strikeforce official today told MMAjunkie.com. The promotion is deciding between two separate arenas, though the venues' respective athletic commissions have approved the event.
Additionally, a light-heavyweight matchup between former champion Gegard Mousasi and Mike Kyle is expected to take place at the April 9 event. Mousasi informed MMAjunkie.com of the targeted bout this past November.
Josh Gross also tweeted that Japanese star Shinya Aoki will fight an unnamed grappler on April 9th, but that that fight might not be aired on Showtime. Former Elite XC champ K.J. Noons is also a possibility for that card but not likely against Aoki.