Shields Staying With Strikeforce? Coker Comments on Kimbo, Rogers, Noons, Fedor and Affliction



CagePotato has an exclusive interview with Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. This was a great interview, good job CP.


Comments on fighters acquired going to the UFC:

What about any fighters who might have been hoping to get free of their Pro Elite contracts and sign with the UFC?

I’ve only had that conversation with one fighter.  And we’ve had two or three conversations with that fighter since, and now I think they may be feeling a different way than they were before.


We dealt with that frustration at the very beginning and we understood where it was coming from, but a lot of these guys I’ve known for a long time, their managers are friends of mine, so I think the ice has all been broken.  And the fighter who was originally looking to go to the UFC is now saying, ‘Do you think I could fight by May?’  So I think they see what we’re doing and it’s going to be okay.


Comments on Brett Rogers:

Let’s talk about specific fighters and your plans for them.  How about Brett Rogers? What do you see in his future with Strikeforce?

Yeah, Brett Rogers is someone we want to put to work right away.  It looks like he’ll probably fight in our May show.  We know he’s a very strong heavyweight.  We’ll try and put him to work and get him back in there and maybe he and Kimbo can fight some time in 2010.


Comments on K.J. Noons:

What about K.J. Noons?  Things got ugly between him and the Pro Elite management and he left MMA for boxing.

Oh, he’ll be back.  

You sound pretty confident of that.

[Laughs]  Here’s the deal: [Noons’ manager] Mark Dion and I have been friends for many years.  We met a long time ago and KJ used to kickbox for me.  But I know he wants to fight.  I saw him at the Darchinyan-Arce fight last weekend, and he told me he still wants to fight in MMA, as well as boxing.  So he’ll be back.


Comments on Affliction and using their fighters:

I’ve heard you talk about fighters you’d like to work with, guys like Jay Hieron and even Fedor Emelianenko, for example, who are with Affliction right now.  It almost sounds like you think Affliction won’t be around too much longer and those guys will be free.  Is that the case?

It’s not about thinking that Affliction will be going away, but it’s more like when Affliction wanted Paul Buentello, we said fine, we’ll let him fight for Affliction.  Affliction wanted to use "Babalu" [Sobral], who was under contract with us, and we said fine.  So in return I would think they’d reciprocate if we wanted to use Jay Hieron.  

With Fedor, it’s a little different story.  The economics of that situation are so much different than with any other fighters.  We haven’t had any conversation with Fedor, and we haven’t had any conversations with Affliction about Fedor.  But in the future, those conversations could happen, but I don’t see why we’d want to have a closed-door policy if it made good business sense to do a fight together with somebody.


In the end, it looks like being Scott Coker is paying off. His great relationships with the UFC, fighters, their managers, and networks are allowing him to make this asset purchase work.

As Coker put it, finding a "business remedy" instead of a legal one is allowing all fighters that were acquired to stay with the budding promotion.  If the fighters still want to leave, they can just renegotiate or sign with whomever they want when their contracts have expired.

It also appears that he has a vision of what he wants to do with each fighter already, wanting Kimbo to take 2-3 fights before fighting someone like Rogers in 2010 and keeping him off main events, unifying the EliteXC and Strikeforce belts, and building up the womens division, are all welcomed attitudes in the MMA world.

Regarding Shields, it appears that Coker is already trying to set up a Sheilds vs Hieron bout for the May event, which is probably one of the better WW matches outside of the UFC.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.