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What's Holding Up a Strikeforce - Bellator Co-Promotion of Alvarez vs. Melendez?

Strikeforce President Scott Coker.
Strikeforce President Scott Coker.

It turns out some rather significant hurdles:

“Obviously our record shows that we will co-promote and we will let fighters go and exchange fighters with other leagues,” Coker said he told Rebney. “We’ve done it with M-1 with Fedor. We’ve done it with Dream. So I think our record speaks for itself on that front.”

However, Coker said one issue with co-promotion would be the timing of an Alvarez-Melendez matchup.

“We’re doing 16, 18, maybe 20 [events] in a calendar year,” Coker said. “Timing is an issue because we need our athletes to be busy in Strikeforce. But with saying that, then the other part is the business relationship, is what type of business relationship are we going to have with Bjorn and can we put it together and make it work for everybody. Because as you know, it’s not always an easy thing when you co-promote. Sometimes there can be things on both sides that show up as a deal breaker. It took me a long time to get the Dream deal done with Aoki. Probably took me about a year. So will [Alvarez-Melendez] happen? We’ll see. Would I like it to happen? Sure. But all the stars have to fall into place.”

Another hurdle -- a major one -- both Bellator and Strikeforce would have to clear is their television deals.

“They have a deal with Fox and NBC late night, and Showtime is our partner. So where does the fight air?” Coker said. “There’s your first question, and I think that’s going to be a big hurdle. Things like that -- there are probably a dozen things on the checklist, but when you start thinking where’s this thing going to air, I can tell you right now I think it’s going to be a big issue.”

Let me be perfectly candid here: everyone has rightly expressed an issue with some of the strategic decisions Strikeforce has made during the course of its growth period, particularly as it relates to getting in bed with M-1. However, two of the most annoying and idiotic fantasies that continues to get bandied about among fans and even journalists is that a) Strikeforce President Scott Coker is helplessly incompetent and b) that the wishful thinking of fan imagination can be brought to life without much effort. I tire greatly of them both.

Making the Alvarez vs. Melendez fight would certainly be a co-promotional triumph, but the mechanics of MMA where major organizations are directly tied to television partners can make such cross pollination exceptionally difficult. Boxing promoters like Top Rank or Goosen or Golden Boy or frankly any promoter who does their work on PPV has more latitude to experiment and blend their product with partners. Bellator and Strikeforce do not and an Alvarez vs. Melendez fight would not be an ideal candidate to make the first leap into those waters. The fact remains there are significant hurdles to doing this fight and if Coker & Co. seem to be dragging their feet it's not a consequence of incompetence; it's because they're thinking through issues the average (and frankly, selfish) MMA fan hasn't even considered.