(Nothing awkward about that. PicProps: MMAZone.nl)
It is with a heavy heart that we must bring you news that Valentijn Overeem – the older but slightly less impressive brother of Alistair – withdrew from his scheduled fight with Bigfoot Silva over the weekend after suffering an elbow injury in training, according to multiple reports. We know, it’s an epic bummer for those of you who were really looking forward to seeing the two middle-of-the-pack heavyweights slug it out on premium cable television. Seriously though, try to pull yourselves together. After this latest injury, Strikeforce is going to have to make some tough decisions and you’re not gonna wanna miss it.
As of this writing, none of our intrepid internet brethren have yet been able to contact anyone at the snakebit promotion to find out how it will cope with the news of a second fight being redacted from its scheduled televised lineup due to late injury. When Herschel Walker dropped out of his glorified sparring session with Scott Carson last week, Strikeforce scrambled to boost middleweights Benji Radach and Lucas Lopes into a light heavyweight bout to fill the void. What will it do now that Overeem is out? Try to find a heavyweight willing to step in against Bigfoot on less than a week’s notice? Press on with just four televised fights, one of which is already a last-minute replacement? Elevate a bout from the typically D-list undercard? We’re not seeing a lot of great options here.
For starters, it’d be nice to get that fifth fight back. Especially since Strikeforce broadcasts have a way of running short and with Showtime’s blanket policy of never, ever replaying any of the taped bouts from the undercard, that fact alone can make a show feel like a bit of a nonevent. But how to do it?
Clearly, this is where Strikeforce’s strategy of stocking its undercard with local talent nobody has ever heard of comes back to bite it in the ass. Filling the dark matches with hometown heroes makes a certain kind of sense when it comes to drawing a healthy live crowd — you want it to at least look like there are some people there, after all – but those fights are essentially worthless to the nationwide audience. You can’t exactly promote Fernando Bettega vs. Wayne Phillips or Justin Lawrence vs. Max Martytniouk to the main card, now can you? At least not with a straight face.
If this is the only option, it’d probably be best to take a page out of the UFC’s playbook and wait for the undercard to happen, hope like hell something interesting goes down in one of the fights and then splice that into your broadcast as filler if a couple of the main card bouts run short. Still, we don’t even know if Strikeforce has that technology, given it’s pretty much never done it before.
We guess you could pluck one of the fights off that recent Challengers card and show that instead. Only a little more than 200,000 people tuned in to watch it live anyway. But which one? Justin Wilcox’s decision over Shaolin Ribeiro? Ovince St. Preux’s decision over Antwain Britt? The best bouts on that card were Caros Fodor’s choke out of Derek Getzel and Liz Carmouche’s TKO of Jan Finney, but those fights don’t do much better than one of the undercard attractions in terms of name recognition.
For our money, the best option here is for Strikeforce to try to talk one of its lesser known heavies into stepping up against Bigfoot, and we’ve got just the guy: Wes Shivers. Remember a couple of weeks ago when we said Shivers had no business being on a Challengers card after two years of retirement? Yeah, well, he won with a knockout after just 2 minutes, 15 seconds. Since he was fighting a guy who was 1-3 and who he outweighed by maybe 30 pounds, it didn’t do much to undermine our original argument. Shivers still didn’t belong on that card. But you know what? He belongs on this one.
Stepping in as a late injury replacement is exactly why you have a guy like Shivers under contract. He’s got some marginal name recognition after his stint on “TUF 10”, he’s coming off a win (however dubious) in Strikeforce and, frankly, he’s got nothing to lose. Heck, if we were Shivers’ people – and so long as he didn’t hurt himself too badly while steamrolling Goldman Butler – we’d be on the phone with Strikeforce right now begging them to give us this fight with Bigfoot. A win here puts Shivers in the mix and shuts up those assholes on that one blog who wrote that one thing that was construed as mean, even though they didn’t really intend for it to be mean. A loss? Like we said, Shivers doesn’t have much to lose, since he admitted before the Butler fight he didn’t know how much further he could push his MMA career anyway.
If Shivers isn’t available, maybe Chad Griggs. Or hell, why not Scott Carson? He was supposed to fight Walker at 220-pounds, so give him that chance to shock the world he was so adamant about getting for himself. Either way, we think it’s worth it to try to get Bigfoot back on this card. C’mon people, we’re just spitballing here. If you’ve got better ideas, we’d love to hear them.