Ok, I have to admit that the lead to this comes off as more than a bit cryptic but don’t act like you do not share my concerns. A brief refresher course to those who may not be aware of the latest news making waves in the world of MMA. On Tuesday, MMAFighting.com’s Mike Chiappetta broke the news that Strikeforce was planning an eight-man heavyweight tournament beginning this year and concluding before 2012.
The tournament idea comes off as a way to appease the masses that have been quit vocal in their criticism of Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker for seemingly wasting his stable of heavyweight fighters by keeping them inactive through much of 2010. In defense to Coker and Company, it wasn’t as if he was dealing with the easiest and most reasonable fighters on the planet. With M-1 essentially holding Fedor hostage, and Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem conquering the Land of the Rising Sun, not to mention Fabricio Werdum being on the injured list, it becomes easier to see why heavyweight fights in Strikeforce appeared to be a frequent as Halley’s Comet.
So in effect, with this proposed tournament, Strikeforce is firing back at the naysayers. You want the biggest and the best Strikeforce has to offer actually fighting? Well, this tournament is for you. Well, you hope.
Strikeforce’s broadcast partner is the cable network Showtime. This past year Showtime has received critical praise for their hand in staging the Super Six boxing tournament. The Super Six is a round robin style tournament that featured six of the sport’s best super middleweights fighting it out to see who was the best in the world in that division. Showtime has since gone on to stage a single-elimination boxing bantamweight tournament as well, that again, has been met with nothing short of praise by boxing fans and media alike. So, it stands to figure that the proposition of a Strikeforce heavyweight tournament was more than likely pretty well received by the brass over at Showtime.
Of course, here is the rub: the Super Six tournament has been plagued by every imaginable hurdle as it relates to the fighters actually staying in the tournament. Fighters being hurt, fighters pulling out of the tournament for various reasons, a plethora of replacement participants all have contributed to taking a good amount of luster off the tournament. Which is exactly why I am so concerned about Strikeforce’s heavyweight tournament, there is too much at stake that can go horribly, horribly wrong.
Granted, this is the fight game and injuries to a fighter are commonplace. After all, when you have 265 lbs. behemoths slugging it out in a cage, the probability for injuries jumps up exponentially. With so many fighters with notorious reputations for inactivity being asked to participate in a 10-month long tournament, well you either have to be crazy, or crazy like a fox.