(If you fire Jerry Millen, I’ll get rid of Gus Johnson. Shake on it.)
According to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, in 2011 the promotion will match each of its top heavyweight fighters up against each other and not just tease the fans by mentioning the prospect of said matches.
During an appearance on Sherdog’s Beatdown Radio Show on Wednesday Coker said his organization is planning on going all-in next year and aren’t going to hold anything back to protect certain future fights.
“One thing I can tell you is all these guys … Alistair, Fedor, Fabricio, Josh Barnett, [Antonio] ‘Bigfoot’ [Silva], [Sergei] Kharitonov, Andrei Arlovski, Brett Rogers — all those guys are all going to fight each other in 2011,” Coker said. “We’re not going to hold anything back. You’re going to see these guys fight the toughest guys because really, if you’re a heavyweight, there are no easy fights in Strikeforce. It’s arguably the best heavyweight division in the world, and I think Josh Barnett said it best. The competition is here. He signed with us because he wants to fight all those guys. We’re going to put those fights together, and I think the fans are going to love it.”
Coker backtracked slightly on an announcement he made last week that they would be revealing Fedor’s next opponent in the next two weeks, changing the time estimate to one month, but he said that "The Last Emperor," would definitely be re-signing with Strikeforce.
“He’s not going to be back this year because the schedule is already full. Who he fights [next], that’s something that we’ll probably have an announcement in the next, I would say, four weeks we’ll have an announcement on how we’re going to unveil this whole thing.”
As far as when Fedor’s recurring nightmare, Fabricio Werdum will be returning to the fold, Coker said it could be mid to late March before we see the Brazilian back.
“The message that I got from his manager is that he will be available probably late first, early second quarter of next year,” Coker said. “Injuries take time. We’re not going to rush him. He just came off a big victory. … When he comes back, we want him to be 100-percent healthy.”
Touching on his heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem‘s decision to compete in K-1 World Grand Prix 2010, rather than take a proposed fight with Antonio Silva in December, Coker said he gave "The Demolition Man" his blessing to compete in the revered kickboxing tournament and that he is hopeful they will have him back to defend his belt sooner than later.
“It’s very clear in our agreement with Alistair that we have booking priority,” Coker said of allowing Overeem to fight in K-1. “So we could have easily said no, but then is it really fair to him? It’s a personal goal of his. Let him go try to be the best standup fighter in the world. … The best strikers in the world fight in K-1 in Japan. He already won his first fight. I thought he looked amazing, and now he’s going to go into the finals and fight Tyrone [Spong], who is no joke. I think Alistair is going to have his hands full with that fight, but we’re going to support him and we’re going to wish him well and hopefully he can win the whole tournament. Then he can come back the Strikeforce champion and the K-1 heavyweight champion. As far as accomplishments, I’ve never seen that done before.”