According to a report from HDNet’s Inside MMA, Strikeforce officials exercised an option to their current heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem, over the weekend with one fight remaining on his contract, though no details have yet emerged as to why the decision was made. Multiple reports have since confirmed the decision, with speculation pointing towards future contract negotiations going badly. No plans have been set for the vacant championship, though the Grand Prix winner could hold the belt.
This is kind of a shock, but recent interviews suggested he really didn’t care to fight for Zuffa. Then he pulled out of the Grand Prix citing a toe injury and rib injury. I’m sure there’s more to it, but I think the attitude toward fighting for Strikeforce was the major cause.
Herb Dean told MMAJunkie.com that he feels he made the correct call to stop the fight in the Henderson/Fedor bout. “If I was to do it again – if I see a fighter face down receiving shots, I’m going to step in and stop the fight. I can’t predict how long he’s going to be unconscious for. The fight is over when he’s unconscious. Because he comes back swiftly after I’ve already stepped in and stopped the fight, I can’t restart the fight. Dan’s still throwing punches, but once I’ve touched Dan, I’ve stopped the fight… [After the fight was stopped] I stepped in to support [Fedor] once he stood up because his balance was still not totally there. I believe his motor control was still questionable… Once I see an unconscious fighter receiving blows while unconscious, that’s my job to prevent him from receiving more blows, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
At first I thought it was the wrong call, but after I watched replay after replay, it was probably the correct call. Fedor was out for a bit, face planting and going limp. He had rolled over, but by then Dean was already stepping in. I, myself, would’ve let it go a few more unanswered shots, but Dean is the best ref in the business, and replay shows he made the correct call.
With both Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson completing their final contracted fight for Strikeforce last Saturday night, it’s up in the air with what’s next for them. However, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated in an interview with MMAFighting.com, “As far as fighting in Strikeforce, I hope we have them both back.” I could see Henderson resigning if he doesn’t jump back to the UFC, but Fedor most likely won’t be back. Zuffa will not co-promote with M-1 Global.
Even though Cung Le expressed interest in fighting for the UFC this November, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMAJunkie.com that won’t be happening. “Cung is going to fight in Strikeforce. Cung wants to fight in November because it’s his home town. I’d like to see Cung fight in our December show.” Weaksauce. I’d rather Le fight some high caliber middleweights. Who is he going to fight in Strikeforce? Other than a fight with Jacare, I don’t care to watch any other match-up.
Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine likely meet for the vacant Strikeforce Welterweight Championship, according to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. Well, it’s not like they have much to choose from. They fought back in January, with Woodley taking a unanimous decision victory, but the fight was close. If Saffiedine can stop the takedown, he should hold gold sometime in the future.