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Postponing The April 9 Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament Bouts Should Not Be an Option

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Strikeforce is rolling right now. They've built up the promotion through interesting matchmaking and action packed shows along with gaining momentum through the announcement and first two fights of the heavyweight tournament. Now there is building talk of postponing the second set of first round tournament fights and the main reason would appear to be Josh Barnett's licensing issues with the California State Athletic Commission.

The problem with canceling the event is the lack of other days to actually hold the event. The schedule for the weeks following the originally planned April 9 date looks like this:

4/16 Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Orlando Salido on Showtime
4/23 Joseph Agbeko vs. Abner Mares / Yonnhy Perez vs. Vic Darchinyan on Showtime
4/30 UFC 129
5/7 Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley on Showtime PPV
5/14 Andre Ward vs. Arthur Abraham on Showtime
5/21 Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson on Showtime
5/28 UFC 130
6/4 UFC Ultimate Fighter Finale
6/11 UFC 131

On Tuesday's edition of Bloody Elbow Radio I talked a little about how in the past I have advocated Strikeforce going head to head with weaker UFC cards like a TUF Finale but this isn't the right season to try and attack that date. Brock Lesnar's involvement is likely to make this one of the most watched seasons of TUF yet and that will likely carry over into the finale. There simply is not an open Saturday for them to place a show on Showtime. And the CBS option would be out for those dates as well as the CBS/Showtime Sports folks are not going to compete with themselves for ratings no matter how little crossover there really is between MMA and boxing fans.

If Barnett is the reason for any possible delay of the show it's probably time to cash in on Chad Griggs' name. He's not a huge star by any means, but he probably won't ever become one either and he's coming off defeating Bobby Lashley and the win on the first tourney show. That show was the most watched event in Strikeforce on Showtime history and his name value isn't going to get any higher than it is right now. Throw him out there against Brett Rogers and pull Barnett altogether.

The other option, if they delay but are able to get Barnett's licensing sorted out, would be to schedule the show for a Friday night. Possibly May 6 when Showtime would be able to do a last minute push to MMA fans to buy the following night's Pacquiao/Mosley event.

Whatever the case, they need to figure things out and start communicating their plans to the media. They've lost control of the story already and need to get a grasp on things quickly before all the good will and momentum that they've built over the past few months disappears.

Strikeforce in April coverage