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Jake Shields, Krazy Horse, Mike Kyle and Strikeforce's Daffy Match-Making

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Josh Gross reports that Strikeforce is apparently not trying very hard to re-sign their middleweight champ Jake Shields:

"The time is ticking," Shields' father and manager, Jack, said Monday. "We'd like to move forward as soon as possible. I'd like to be negotiating right now."
Jack Shields said he was told by Strikeforce that its ambitious schedule of four events in six weeks was getting in the way of "serious negotiations" and that he would hear from them this week.

Yet one source with knowledge of Strikeforce's thinking regarding the 31-year-old Shields told that the promotion has discussed releasing him outright before an exclusive negotiating period concludes three weeks from now. Once that expires, Strikeforce would also have the ability to match any offer made on Shields, whose 25-4-1 record features 14 consecutive wins since 2004.

"Can I guarantee that we won't release him? No, I can't," Coker said when asked about cutting Shields. "It depends on how the last two or three weeks of negotiation go. I won't be able to answer until negotiations are over. Is it a possibility? It's a possibility. If we're not going to be in the Jake Shields business, let's just move on. That's how I feel. This is a business. Jake has a career and a life and it's not fair to him. But Jake is a guy we've appreciated having him as part of the family."

Zach Arnold discusses the fighters Strikeforce IS interested in, charmers like Charles Krazy Horse Bennett:

I understand that Bennett beat Noons in the past, but what does Noons gain from beating Bennett in Strikeforce? It's one of those situations where Noons benefits little from the fight and could lose a lot if he gets beat. Yes, Noons needs to build up his name to the American public, but look at what's happened with his career trajectory - clowning Nick Diaz in their Texas fight to fighting Andre Dida in DREAM (in a fight that turned cautious) to now getting booked against Krazy Horse Bennett? Who the hell cares about seeing Noons get "revenge" for, what, a loss in Elite XC he had over three years ago that nobody even remembers or cares about? I understand that Noons had a layoff of two years due to inactivity, but he got some of the ring rust off in the Dida fight.

This reminds me of when Scott Coker discussed the possibility of Feijao facing King Mo for the Light Heavyweight title and Coker told Ariel Helwani that Feijao "has a thorn in his side" in Mike Kyle because Feijao lost to Kyle in the past. Seriously, who do you know that is a hardcore MMA fan that is clamoring to see Feijao vs. Mike Kyle in a re-match? No one. The same Mike Kyle, BTW, who didn't get punished nearly enough in my opinion for the stunt he pulled in the WEC cage on Brian Olsen in 2006 where Olsen ended up getting taken to the hospital. Even if you forget that incident took place, who exactly wants to watch Feijao vs. Kyle in a re-match? Nobody.

As Jordan Breen recently pointed out, it seems as if Strikeforce has cornered themselves with their matchmaking and has a tendency to go backwards and not forwards in thinking.

Zak Woods may be wanting to see Noons vs Krazy Horse 2, but I agree with Arnold, this is bad bad match-making. Why? Simple, it's because Strikeforce has put themselves in a position (again) where if K.J. Noons and Feijao win their fights that's better for Strikeforce, but if they lose, it's a disaster.

The #1 rule of good promotional match-making is to only book win/win fights. The UFC has mastered this approach. Ideally, no matter who wins the fight, the UFC wins because they have more promotional options at the end of each fight than before. 

Strikeforce doesn't seem to get this. They made the same mistake by signing Dan Henderson and rooting openly for him to beat Jake Shields. When Shields won instead, they had no contractual hold on their middleweight champ and their new hotshot Henderson had just taken a humiliating loss. 

Krazy Horse Bennett is a pathetic person who will never be reliable enough to feature on a CBS card. I wouldn't even book him on Showtime, but Strikeforce feels differently. K.J. Noons is an exciting, dynamic fighter with a win over Nick Diaz. If he wins, Strikeforce has a new lightweight contender, but if he loses, they've damaged him and gained nothing because Krazy Horse has almost nil promotional value.

Same with Feijao and Mike Kyle. Feijao does have one loss marring his record, but after his impressive KO win over Antwain Britt, I doubt many care. Feijao is someone who can credibly challenge King Mo for his Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title. But if he loses to Mike Kyle again, he's irreparably damaged. And what do they have in Kyle? Not much. They have a mediocre fighter with a record of blatant fouling that really should have seen him banned from the sport.  

Sometimes it is clear why Strikeforce is a distant second to the UFC.

More BE Coverage of Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum

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