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It’s Official: Strikeforce is Just Making This Sh*t Up as It Goes

("I’m thinking of a number between 1-20. First person to guess it gets to be Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix champion. No shit, we’ll give you a belt and everything." PicProps: Canvas Chronicle)

So, in a nutshell? Strikeforce held a conference call yesterday where it contradicted many of the things it just told us last week about its proposed heavyweight grand prix tournament. No, the title won’t be on the line. No, the fights (excepting the final) won’t be five rounds. Instead, the winner will become the Strikeforce tournament champion and will get a shot at Alistair Overeem’s belt after the grand prix wraps up … some time in like 2015. Unless Overeem himself wins the tournament. In that case, aside from The Reem having another hunk of gold to add to his collection and Strikeforce having zero title contenders left, we have no idea what happens next. From the sound of it, neither does Strikeforce.

Some other oddities in the tournament “rules” revealed yesterday: In the unlikely event of a draw, the promotion will call upon a fourth judge to break the tie. That’s cool, because draws suck. It’s also shitty, because the “fourth judge” will reportedly be appointed by Strikeforce, not an athletic commission and therefore stands to be even less trustworthy than the blind simpletons who normally score MMA fights. Also, in the very likely event that someone can’t continue in the tournament due to injury (or some other reason) a five-person “tournament committee” comprised of Strikeforce officials will handpick a replacement. If you think this concept is obviously rife with major conflicts of interests, well, you’re right. Don’t worry though, it will all sound very official. Kind of like in the ’80s when “Jack Tunney” used to be the “president” of the WWF.

Anyway, after the jump, some meditations on how all the things we told you in the above two paragraphs could potentially make this tournament go all fubar. We have questions, people. Tons of questions.

From the start, it never really made any sense to have the Strikeforce heavyweight championship on the line in each round of this tourney, but taking the belt out of the equation while leaving the champion in makes even less sense. Essentially the company is allowing its already absentee champ to put the title on ice for yet another year. It’s also hard to see how creating an additional, totally separate tournament belt will help matters. Like we said at the top, the tournament champion will assumedly get a future shot at the regular champion … unless the tournament champion and the regular champion are the same guy. That’s confusing, we know, but actually possibly less confusing then the alternative …

The alternative is this: Let’s say for the sake of argument that a scenario unfolds where Overeem loses to Fabricio Werdum, who in turn loses to Fedor, who then loses to Josh Barnett in the final. Then what? Do you give a title shot to the guy who beat the guy who beat the guy who beat the champ? What happens to the guy who beat the champ in the first place? Does he get a title shot too, maybe after? And if so, what’s the point of this tournament thing again?

Additionally, what if one of Strikeforce’s undesirable alternate fighters wins this thing? What if Chad Griggs gets boosted into the tournament final because Fedor busts his hand in the semis? If Griggs wins the tournament by beating Gian Villante and Werdum, does he get a shot at Overeem? Or in that case do we just sweep it under the rug and pretend like this whole “tournament champion” thing never happened? We’re guessing the latter.

Clearly though, the whole business about a “tournament committee” is Strikeforce’s safety valve in all this. If the grand prix starts heading south, if things aren’t going according to plan – if they’re “going Griggs,” you might say — the “tournament committee” can always step in and reshuffle the deck. Fedor and Overeem both lose in the first round? No problem. The “tournament committee” can just stick them back in there. Heck, maybe even in the finals, if that’s what it takes.

Do you think Strikeforce is above that? We don’t. Not after yesterday’s call, when  Scott Coker made it clear that he’s just going to shrug his shoulders and say stuff like “well, that’s how they do it in Japan” every time he has to scramble the rules of his heavyweight GP. He’s right though, this is how they do it in Japan. In Japan, it’s a total clusterfuck and they do whatever it takes to engineer the outcome they desire.

Another thing about that conference call? The Pride comparisons continued to flow like wine.  And you know what? Maybe that is appropriate here. Gotta say, a struggling MMA organization comparing itself to Pride is kind of like a struggling singer/songwriter comparing himself to Kurt Cobain. It’s cool for a while … until you get to the part at the end.

Cagepotato Comments

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theliability- January 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm
I don't even listen to Coker or care about the SF titles. I'm just excited to possibly see some more decent fights this year.

It's only a matter of time til SF falls and the UFC scrapes up the pieces.

Then Bellator will be the big number 2, until the same thing happens again.
JaredB- January 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm
Jack Tunney was a real guy and he was used as a TV figurehead for storylines because he was the president of WWF Canada. It made much more business sense at that time to have some stuffed suit play the dumbass in charge on TV who everybody could hate, instead of Vince McMahon who needed credibility to make deals. Remember that there were actual TV executives in the 80s who thought freaking pro wrestling was real. The more you know!
BuckWild- January 14, 2011 at 6:31 pm
None of this fuss matters cause in "The Future" all the fighting will be done by robots...!

Actually, there just isn't enough elite HW's in Strikeforce or UFC. I would say they both need at least double the number of top HW fighters. But I would say, this will be a cool thing to watch unfold.

Does anyone know how many events it will take for this GP to play out?
Thatsozay- January 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm
I know nobody wants to hear this but all strikeforce has to do to make this tournament "legit" is to take Overeem out of the mix. Winner then gets to fight ol' horsemeat. Now was that so fucking hard?
fatbellyfrank- January 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm
As I said previously, all Coker's done is booked his heavyweights for the next 12 months, called it a Grand Prix and generated a shitstorm of publicity, we'll all be watching so we can say " told you so" that a, it came off, or b, was a total clusterfuck. Whatever happens, the MMA world is currently talkin about SF upcoming action, and surely Coker should get some props for that?
Get Off Me- January 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm
Dana White can ban CP from a press conference and not get 1/10th the flack Strikeforce receives for simply changing some of the format, not the fighters, for this upcoming tourney.
All the people who look at this conference call as Strikeforce fucking up, you perhaps never have been part of a company that changes things on the fly or you perhaps missed the post fight presser at the last UFC(that's right the UFC changes things too).
I really don't get it, it's not even high school level shit, it's elementary yard level.
I want to see the article that recaps the first round of this tourney, if you want to write all the negative crap, then you better be prepared to eat your words if it goes off and the fights are entertaining, otherwise you end up looking like an ignorant UFC fanboy who the UFC doesn't give a shit about anyway.
ZiggysDick- January 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm
@ knucklesamitch: That's what I was thinking, too. This GP isn't really a tournament.

For the CP, it does seem like Strikeforce never pleases. If Overeem fights Barnett, Fedor, or Werdum in a 3-round fight, even if it's not for his belt, I'll be pleased. Watching Fedor fight anyone that isn't a Bobby Lashley is also pleasing.

Strikeforce is distinctly inferior to the UFC in terms of its ability to execute the fights that it promises to put on, its broadcast team, pre-fight marketing, and (with the possible exception of the Heavyweight division) depth of talented fighters. If you simply accept that they're too green of an organization to legitimately compete with the UFC brand, then you can allow yourself to enjoy whatever MMA fights they do put on. Even wacky mismatches.

dlb- January 14, 2011 at 2:06 pm
"Belts don't do nothing but collect dust." - Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Who gives one shit about a Strikeforce belt? Finally Overeem is fighting, finally Overeem and Fedor have a chance to fight and finally Strikeforce is doing something that could be very entertaining. Let's celebrate!
Old_Bald_and_Irish- January 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Ditto to "Shinglesinmypants".

CP's editorial team certainly seems to have it in for Strikeforce. It's talk like this that ends up with Arizona loons gunning people down in a Safeway

......or....something like that. Right? That's what MSNBC keeps telling me...

I don't think that anyone is taking the time to realize how hard Coker's job is. Wrangling his heavyweight division is like trying to put a pocketwatch together while wearing fuzzy mittens. It ain't easy.

I LOVE the whole Grand Prix idea. And yes, it's okay to make comparisons to JMMA. They did tournaments right. We'll be getting some stellar match-ups with this tourney. And just have a grand Prix champ belt ala PRIDE FC. I thought that having the HW belt on the line was silly to begin with. Also, it's not fair for some fighters to go 5 rounds and some only 3. Keep it the same across the board....

And the acusations of manipulating the tourney to get specific fights?


Oh no, no... the UFC has NEVER made contenders sit on the bench again and again and again so they could manipulate match-ups to get a quality (and sometimes not-so quality) PPV to fill a short-term need.

Look....I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have my doubts that Strikeforce can pull this whole thing off without a hitch. It's MMA. Anything can happen and quite often does. Ask BJ Penn.

But at least give them credit for trying.

I hate to say it, but it seems to me that CP has a major hate-on for Strikeforce.
cecils_pupils- January 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Dana_Plight- January 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm
ehhhhhh ok I'll watch it but only if Tank Abbott is an alternate.
ccman- January 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm
Right now dana white is inventing curse words, vince mcmahon feels legitamate, and nero is fiddling.
RwilsonR- January 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm
@ myklehoey - I enjoy your Ulysses-esque stream-of-consciousness posts, but I'm afraid I don't always understand them.

@ El Guapo - Everything your said is absolutely rite!
El Guapo- January 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm
Reem vs Werdum is still a much better fight than El Racisto vs shoulder rehabilitation. So is Fedor vs Bigfoot, for that matter.

Am I right or am I write?
Dana_Plight- January 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm
When SF does this kind of stuff over and over again, it raises the question of the organization's legitimancy. In my eyes, the fights lose value. The UFC isn't perfect, and they sometimes do things that make me scratch my head, but OMG it's so much better than this. Coker should just shit on a blank sheet of paper and call that the tourney schedule.
DARKHORSE06- January 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm
Im pretty sure Rage in the Cage is a more professional organization than SF. What a fucking abortion.
knucklesamitch- January 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm
Maybe it's just me, but my whole problem with this tournament dabacle is that they insist on calling it a "tournament".

In reality, the only thing that makes this thing a tournament is the fact that they say so, and they showed us a graphic of some brackets.

Hell, Did you know that the UFC is doing a Light Heavyweight tournament? The fighters are Jon Jones, Ryan Bader, Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, Lyoto Machida, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and Lil Nog. Jones/Bader and Couture/Machida are the two fights on the left side of the bracket, Griffin/Frankin, and Ortiz/Lil Nog are the fights on the right side. Whoever wins the tournament will get a title shot against the winner of Rua/Evans.

To me, UFC's tournament is better, only it's not a tournament...ITS JUST FIGHTS THEY HAVE SCHEDULED FOR THE NEXT SIX MONTHS.
intercept440- January 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm
actually there is a method to scot cokeheads madness..

the winner will have to fight three times to be crowned champ

The Reem has 2 fights left on his contract i believe, fedor maybe the same not sure about him though.

in a round about sort of way, he could be trying to force negotiations with the reem to ensure he stays with SF, who knows, i just want to see fedor fight horsemeat, and i want to see steriod boy on the other bracket fight arlovski, the other guys, i could give a rats ass about

just wait and hopefully it all doesnt fall apart, and we will be rewarded with some good fights
KidDinomite- January 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm
The writers here are being way too cynical when Strikeforce is involved. I honestly didn't expect Strikeforce to get 5, 5 minute rounds past the athletic commissions, especially since most of the fights aren't for a championship. Last I heard, tournament fights are usually 3, 3 minute rounds. So 3, five minute rounds is enough to establish a good fight between the competitors, though I doubt any one of the fights is gonna last past round 2. I got The Reem or Fedor winning it.

There could be injuries too but I doubt they'll have journeymen like Chad Griggs as a replacement. I read they're probably gonna give the spot to one of the alternates who are already scheduled to fight on the same card if any injuries go down. Also having a 4th judge in attendance will only help, especially if guys like Cecil Peoples are judging this thing and Strikeforce is doing the appointing.

Lastly, having Overeem on this thing isn't about the champion defending his belt, it's about testing himself to see if he's the best in the world. Yeah, people say he should go to the UFC but as long as Overeem's fighting for Strikeforce this is the best place to put him, right in the mix. Also, if he does lose, the rematch for the title against whoever he lost to would be a compelling matchup, especially if it's a close fight. I don't see it happening, however, as I think only Werdum or Fedor poses any real threat to The Reem but then again, Overeem is a much different fighter now and will not be forced into fighting on the ground. I think he's too smart for that and will keep the fight standing and will KO Werdum with an UberKnee.

So really it doesn't matter, we're gonna get some good, Pride style fights with some of the best heavyweights. I'm not gonna worry about it. It's gonna happen, deal with it.
Shinglesinmypants- January 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm
Don't really see the big deal about Overeem not defending his oh so credible SF championship. Obviously the tournament winner's championship will have more prestige and credibility then the paper title Overeem holds. Can we get over that and just give SF credit for coming up with a clever way to get us interested in their product consistently? No one gave these guys a chance and there taking a completely different approach then UFC to establish themselves as a real sports entertainment organization. It's ridiculous how you mock Strikeforce for fumbling it's attempts to tweak the universal rules of MMA. Yeah they couldn't do it, but what they tried to accomplish is a huge revelation for the sport and will have a huge impact for MMA regulations in the future. Strikeforce has brought in established names, has booked big fights and is rehashing successful nostalgic memories.

CP's pessimistic attitude on this tournament is completely frustrating and uncalled for. UFC could never give the public anything close to this, they're extremely cheap, cold n calculated and would never risk a bump that could hinder their two year plan how can you applaud that as a fan? Safe fights are pathetic and UFC is notorious for that. Once they actually book big draws vs big draws then that means they're going to have to start paying hefty and consistently (UFC dropped a TUF coach and then top MW in the division in Dan henderson jus cause he bitchs about not being able to get the kind of cash Ortiz makes. Why the hell not? Spent a year making this guy a fan favourite and they won't even give him his worth). We are getting robbed of great fights all the time and Strikeforce is doing something about it.

So Strikeforce doesn't have a plan for 2012. Who the hell cares? Maybe they'll find some more Heavyweights to sign. Maybe they won't. Maybe the tournament will provide great highlights that will be talked about all through 2012, the last show they produced certainly topped Greatest UFC knockouts 2010.
KarmaAteMyCat- January 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm
Remember sometime last week when I mentioned how god awful the circus show named Strikeforce was. Many disputed it claiming that I was just a "Hater" and riding the UFC's Balls. Well, I told YOU FUCKING SO.

This is beyond sports entertainment, Strikeforce Mangement should have its own reality show. We'll tell them that the filming is for an auto Biographical MMA show based on Promoters and the Tribulations they face when putting an event together. When in reality it'll be about "The Sinking ship that is Strikeforce". I really don't know who helps fund the Surf Ninja's(Scott Croker) little endeavors but I would bet that if some how Strikeforce fucks this up(Which they will) then their gonna be hurting beyond any recovery possible in the near future.

The numerous things that went wrong in 2010 seem to only be foreshadowing to the tragedies that are now on the forefront for Strikeforce and company. MMA is the sport of infinite possibilities so I'll give them a STRIKERS chance in hell of pulling this off without any sort of hitch or hiccup. I won't be holding my breath I leave that to people who believe in magic and world records.

I truly foresee the UFC within the next couple purchasing the rights to Strikeforce and it's several valuable contracts. It'll be good when that day comes because we'll have the return of Diaz,Henderson, and Werdrum. The arrival of Overreem will be much welcomed as well.

Be easy Potatonation!
rlh61- January 14, 2011 at 12:14 pm
You know, i'm pumped for it too. The problem is that the more of these types of announcements that come out, the more likely the thing is going to fall apart.
Lopes- January 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm
You guys are all missing the point...

It's MMA, shit doesn't have to make sense. We just want to see two grown men get paid large sums of money to beat the hell out of each other for our amusement.
bandit403- January 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm
HERE WE GO the end is near so really they just showed us their line up for the next heavyweight fights and called it a GRAND PRIX did they just pull a fast one on M1??????
Goat- January 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Strikeforce folds in 2011

I don't think it.

I know it.