I know these have been few and far between lately, but I like to have some good stuff to really dig into before I do one of these and Strikeforce as of late has given me much to rant about. It seems that the upstart San Jose promotion has two big upcoming shows that are taking shape and while they have some quality match ups, they also have some things going on that have me scratching my head. Let's take a look at a few of the problems I see looming for them as they go forward after the jump.
M-1 Global/Fedor Emelianenko - Fedor is a legend, there's no doubt about that and no one really questions that. The problem is he is not the commodity he and his management think he is. Sure his fight with Brett Rogers on CBS garnered a buzz but it wasn't even close to one of the most watched free televised fights, which lets you know that he isn't as big of a draw as they think. Now the M-1 boys are playing hardball to get Fedor a better deal from Strikeforce and he has been taken off the April card, which of course is their second show on CBS and is not rumored but not quite confirmed for their May show, which I'm assuming will be on Showtime. Sure, that'll be great for Showtime, if of course the Fedor-Fabricio Werdum fight happens, but does Strikeforce want to give away a fight like that on a show that probably won't do big numbers since Showtime isn't in a lot of people's homes? This is why fans of his are so frustrated with his post-PRIDE career as his management have kept him from many important opportunities that I could care less now whether we see Fedor in a cage/ring/or anywhere again.
Non-Title fights - If there's one thing I've never understood in mixed martial arts it's non-title fights. Now I understand a bout like Anderson Silva/Travis Lutter being non-title due to Lutter's inability to make weight but to sign a fight that has two fighters, in the same weight division and one of them being a champion in that said division and the belt not be up for grabs is ridiculous. This comes from the rumored Alistair Overeem/Brett Rogers fight that could take place in May but contested in a three round match instead of a five. In this case, I understand that it would be dumb to have Rogers fight for the belt when he was just decapitated in November, but why not just jump the shark and put Overeem in there with Fedor? If that's not feasible, why not put Werdum in there with Overeem for the belt and push back the Fedor fight? This is the same thing that happened in November when Gegard Mousasi took on Sokoudjou in a non-title Light Heavyweight bout. This only makes the champion look bad because while it may be used as a tool to showcase the champion, in most cases, the champion is given all he can handle in these situations and what does that say about your belt holder when an opponent deemed not worthy of a shot at said title gives them a rough time? I know that they want to let the world see their champion, who has somehow been missing in action for over two years, and I understand they want to do that with a high caliber opponent but without having the possibility of that high caliber opponent taking the belt off him but it just doesn't make sense. This isn't the WWE. I think athletic commissions should have a rule that if you're a champion and fighting a fight in the weight division you're champion, you should be defending that belt!
[UPDATE] Well I wrote most of this yesterday and now it seems the fight between Alistair Overeem and Brett Rogers will in fact be for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Title. Which debunks much what I said but still, non-title fights are stupid!
DREAM/Strikeforce - I've given my spiel on this before but it's still a problem in my eyes. Now they have everyone's favorite spandex pants wearing lightweight, Shinyo Aoki, on tap for the CBS show against Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce lightweight title. Sounds good in theory, as the Dream/Strikeforce union always does. However, your everyday, just watch occassionally fan will have no idea who Aoki is and why he's in contention for the belt. Yes, they can show clips from Dream and do the whole Dream background however I know it has to be a task for the marketing team to grasp viewers that are not in the know to some of these matchups. Don't get me wrong, all of the Dream contracted fighters that have fought for titles (I do believe that has only been Mitsuhiro Ishida and Marius Zaromskis) have deserved to do so, but in a business like MMA where it's just as much about selling a product as it is a sport, this method of matchmaking is going to end up costing Strikeforce in the long run if they do not properly introduce those fighters and build up their title fights as a war between two organizations best instead of a hopeful showcase for one of Strikeforce's standout fighters.
Just a few tidbits I felt the need to rant about. Let me know what you think or if you have your own opinions on Strikeforce's recent wave of news.