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“Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva” Aftermath: Action packed fights may not last long, but will public interest in the tournament?

‘Nuff said.

Being a judge for Strikeforce events must be the easiest gig in town. You can say what you will about their matchmaking, but—Challengers series aside—their last 13 consecutive televised fights have ended without tallying up the scorecards. Strikeforce has been steadily building its reputation as a promotion that puts on exciting fights, if not always competitive ones. And while the general public will gravitate toward the action, exciting fights are something that any promotion can deliver on any given night. That’s why last night’s event was about so much more to Strikeforce. It was about bringing back the energy and momentum of the tournament format. It was about distancing themselves from the pack and making a name for themselves as the promotion that takes risks and carves their own path. So, did the gamble pay off?  Let’s break it down.

First off, kudos to Strikeforce for simply making it this far. There has been no shortage of know-it-all bloggers telling them why this is a bad idea and how it will blow up in their face.  Fully aware of the challenges and risks they faced, they made the bold decision to move forward. Sure, we’re only one event into this thing, so it’s a bit early to start celebrating, but so far they’ve avoided some of the more dramatic pitfalls lurking in the shadows. From a purely competitive standpoint, last night’s event went off without a hitch. The better fighters of the evening won in emphatic fashion and seem to have emerged without any major injuries that would delay their next fights. You won’t find any articles about tournament troubles or controversy this morning. Instead, the whole MMA world is buzzing about Kharitonov’s vicious KO of Arlovski and Silva’s absolute upset over the heavily-favored Emelianenko, and that’s a great thing for Scott Coker.

That being said, there’s a big distinction between the competitive side of this tournament and the promotional side, and from a marketing perspective Fedor was not the only recipient of a black eye last night. Alongside Gina Carano, Fedor has long been the most heavily promoted fighter on the Strikeforce roster. Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem fought Brett Rogers at “Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery”; non-champ Fedor fought Rogers at “Stikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers”. See the difference? Up until his defeat at the hands of Werdum, Fedor was marketed as the undefeated juggernaut- the man, myth, the legend. Even after that loss, much of the hype around this event was centered on his shot at redemption and tournament glory. Even with Strikeforce champion Overeem’s participation in the tournament, it was Fedor who got top billing and the loudest reaction from the crowd during last night’s fighter introductions. Losing Fedor at the earliest possible point in the tournament means saying goodbye to a sure-fire promotional campaign as the Grand Prix progresses.

Perhaps even better known to the general public is former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski. Unlike Fedor, who needed a formal introduction to the American public upon his arrival in Strikeforce, the Pit Bull entered the organization as an already well-known commodity following his lengthy run in the Octagon. Despite being on a downhill slide leading into last night’s bout, he was greeted with a huge ovation from the fans at the IZOD Center. While he may not have been a bookmaker’s favorite to take the tournament, he is certainly a fan-favorite of the casual MMA audience. Losing a big name in the lineup could mean losing the attention of viewers who are more apt to tune in if they see a familiar face in the cage.

The beauty of the tournament format is that anything can happen and you never know who will advance, but that’s a double-edged sword for a promotion which up until now has relied heavily on only a couple of marquee fighters to carry the promotional banner. With Arlovski and Fedor out of the tournament, Strikeforce will be forced to build up new stars and further drive interest in the tournament format itself. Coker has expressed interest in continuing the Grand Prix down through the lower weight classes; as those divisions are strapped for big-name fighters, Strikeforce would be well served to follow in Bellator’s footsteps and let the intrigue and hype of the tournament format shoulder some the promotional duties from here on.

- Chris Colemon

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TheRealMrBeefy- February 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm
@ccman
You are retarded. You were probably all over Fedor's nuts like everyone else up until he lost for the first time. You make me sick. You have no idea what your talking about and you should do yourself a favor and stop watching MMA. Stick to WWF you Fu*king loser.

Fedor lost, its not the end of the world. It certainly does not warrant some loser piece of shit like you saying what you did about him. Your probably some fat kid who lives in his grandma's basement and jerks of to pictures of Linda McMahon.

Fedor is probably the greatest MMA fighter of all time. You sir are a Faggot.
Joesonscup- February 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm
when chuck fought Jeremy Horn and got choked out what was his weight? I remember him being over the 205 mark quite a bit and therefore not being always in the lhw division.. although If I remember correctly they didn't have divisions then.. I could be off on that one.
Karmaatemycat- February 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm
@CCman

Amateurs weigh in day of.

@CrushCo

Got twitter?
RwilsonR- February 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm
@ Joesonscup - what a strange rant with several mixed up facts. Couldn't agree less.
RwilsonR- February 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm
@ CrushCo - Kevin Burns tried it against Anthony Johnson, but he just couldn't pull it off.

@ Turd & ghostboner - I'm with you guys on Arlovski. It is depressing watching a guy with that much talent and athletic potential be one gentle touch away from losing consciousness. He's never been the same since that second fight with Sylvia. Plus, Arlovski has never been the smartest fighter. And once he got with Freddie Roach he seemed to forget that this isn't boxing. Too bad. I used to think he was an absolute monster that should go over to Pride to challenge Fedor and CroCop back when they ruled the division. Now I'm glad he didn't since I don't think his chin could have taken the Pride lady shouting his name, let alone a solid blow from either of those two.
ccman- February 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm
When did liddell fight at heavy? He was always a lhw.

Otherwise ok.. i think weigh ins should be day of fight. wrestlers who are used to massive weight cuts get to much advantage hence lay and pray becoming prominant.

And iwill say it. Fedor is 7 years into all hype. Russians are euro trash defined. Fedor got owned and the 'one more round' game is retarded. Fedor and m1 hand picked his first round fight looking fow what they built his legacy on, big and slow, medium skilled at best fighters. Fedor ducked ufc and 2x or more paydays to avoid big and athletic fighters like brock, cain,mir.... ect. And again but suffer, he came out like kos, overhand rights and a prayer. Missed, lost a fresh step, got whooped. Showed as much technique as a 14 yro losing virginity.
liX13dix- February 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm
Bas and Schiavello were rockin the first half of the night, they should be doing the main gig.
Fedor's been eyeing retirement for a while now - he's been hinting in his non-communicative way about leaving competition and concentrating on coaching up the next generation.
These fighters are among the best in the world at this weight class - if you're not into this tourny you're not an MMA fan.
Will this site's public remain interested in CP's like all scientific breakdowns? Or just get all fidgety without their usual clownish butt-banditry?
Joesonscup- February 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm
Suddenly its cool to be a fighter Im seeing alot of people in the cage that should not be there... and its diluting the sport... It takes away from what its meant to be... imo.
Joesonscup- February 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm
Guys like Matt Hughes and GSP BJ Penn Sherk Machida... Rampage... all these guys that stay in their division I respect.. and tough shit if the other ones cant hack it look for another Job...
Joesonscup- February 13, 2011 at 3:38 pm
I also feel that there are too many fighters that cant hack it at their weight class... so they drop down a class to pick on smaller fighters... I think this needs to stop... they should step in and do what boxing does and limit the amount of weight the fighters can put back on before the fight...this would cut down on the bigger pussies picking on smaller fighters..this is what I mean...Lets take Forrest Griffin, Rashad evans or Schmuck Liddell, Brandon Vera for example... all of these guys could not hack it in the heavy weight division and decided to move to the lhw Now here is what happens.. the guys that are naturally light heavy are forced to fight bigger guys that are only 205 for about a day or so then they baloon back up to the 225 to 230 something... Randy and Fedor are natural heavies... any one that has to cut to hit 265 is Super Heavy... The guys like franklin and Kflo and Tyson Griffin class hoppers... they are not fun to watch... they just want to pick on smaller guys to win a belt they would never win at their natural weight... I call that Pussy.
Joesonscup- February 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm
this is the way I see it I have watched this fight four times already... First of all Silva is a big fucker! He should be in super heavy division. Second he was gassed... after that second round he was leaning on the cage praying that the doctors or someone would step in cuz he just carwinized himself... He was huffing and puffing and laying on Fedor at the end of that round... and Fedor looked as if he could go another three rounds... aside from the koschecked eye he looked rather OK... I'm more surprised at the people jumping on the Silva bandwagon ... look here is a fact.. and its a cold one.. but true.. if Silva wasn't that big he wouldn't be that good... Like cock chestnar... take away a bit of size and they are below average fighters... Silva's technique was lacking thats why he couldn't finish the emperor...pure and simple...There is no way he wins this tourney..
ghostboner- February 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm
@Turd - I know me too! On the edge of the damn seat praying to Cthulu that he can slip and cross his way to a victory. So sad. Ah well, I'll always have that Buentello fight.
Turd Furgeson- February 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm
@Ghostboner

Everytime he fights I hope he can go the full 15 minutes without gettin hit, because I know as soon as he eats a jab, it's over. It's a sad state of affairs.
ghostboner- February 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm
No it would have to be Koscheck dude.
CrushCo- February 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm
@RwilsonR- Who's most likely to unveil this technique in the Octagon? It's gotta be Kongo, right?
RwilsonR- February 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm
@ CrushCo - watched it late last night, and I'm just glad Seagal didn't teach Anderson that brutal eye gouge he finished Tommy Lee Jones with.
CrushCo- February 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm
Also, anyone else watching Under Seige on Spike? I keep waiting for Casey Ryback to whip out that lethal front kick.
CrushCo- February 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm
@HusseinObama- I feel you. I knew we had a Fedor-based article coming out shortly, so I figured I'd focus on the subject I'd chosen. Should I have given him a moment of silence? Maybe. I'm positive there will be no shortage of Fedor tributes here and around the web should he really be calling it quits. I think it may be a bit early to pour out vodka for his ass, but we should know for sure in the weeks ahead.
HusseinObama- February 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm
@CrushCo

I get what you're saying. But when on of the most famous mma fighters in the world (not the US, the WORLD) gets his second real loss ever in 34 fights and then says he's gonna retire, well deserves at least a couple of sentences, right?
CrushCo- February 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm
@Karma- thanks for the reading comprehension, bruh. Somehow people took this as an anti-Fedor peice, or at least a soapbox to vent about his loss. My point is simply that Strikeforce has an unexpected challenge ahead of them, promotionally speaking. I'm not saying that the tournament is doomed, that Fedor sucks, that Strikeforce is garbage, etc. If nothing else, they just need to adapt to what's happened and turn this obstacle into an opportunity for growth.
Karmaatemycat- February 13, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Who ever made the odd's for that Fedor fight was smoking WAY to much Meth and should be fucking Fired. How was he the favor? He just lost his last match to a Blackbelt in JUJITSU who BY THE WAY was closer to his weight(NOT 50lbs heavier on fight day) Seriously? Favored by who? the nutthuggers? Fucking retarded,Absurd, and Just not logical. Good article though valid points about the promotion they are taking chances and making efforts to distance themselves from the pack. Hopefully the Surf Ninja can do something with the Welterweight Division Like this since besides that all they have really is... Nothing.. They could do a Half ass'd Middle Weight one but that wouldn't do so well. I bet bellator is pissed! Ha.
ghostboner- February 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm
Seriously though, I heard Quadros had another gig that night. Apparently they were filming another version of the music video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" that night and they needed him. Ya know, for his dance moves.
ghostboner- February 13, 2011 at 12:57 pm
Quadros will only show up if they have plenty of fresh victims for him, and Coker was too busy last night to try to hide a bunch of bodies sooo.... No Quadros.
ghostboner- February 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm
@Turd - Indeed. Arlovski is fast as hell for a HW and prob one of the best strikers in the division, and his ground game is certainly good enough. Too bad he crumbles when he gets hit. But I am a loyal primate and I will always hug his testes. I don't see him trying to cut to 205, cause he is not a 40lb weight cutting vag like Jon Jones.
skeletor- February 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm
RwR,
My friends and I were wondering about Quadros as well. The only logical theory we can come up with is that SF just doesn't have the makeup/manpower budget to have both of them working on the same night. Or whatever gypsy curse they use to bring him back from the dead before each broadcast just wasn't working that particular night.
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