("CBS? They suck. I’m not sure I want to work with them anymore.")
During today’s Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu conference call, the promotion’s CEO Scott Coker touched on some pressing questions, but was noticeably mum on others.
"You’re going to see big things," Coker teased when speaking of the California-based promotion’s plans for next year, but he didn’t say whether or not a return to CBS is in Strikeforce’s stacked deck of cards. In an interview he did earlier this month with Sherdog, Coker said that a reputable TV deal would have to be in place for him to entertain a co-promotion deal with the promotions, which could be a telling sign that CBS has taken his number off of speed dial.
He did mentione Showtime when discussing the ongoing, yet unfruitful negotiations with Fedor Emelianenko‘s M-1 Global management team, but didn’t give a clue about the status of Strikeforce’s relationship with CBS, which many assume is dead in the water thanks to the Team Cesar Gracie-Jason Miller brawl that took place during their last telecast in April.
"It’s been quite a long road here with the M-1 camp trying to get this done. I agree with [M-1 director of operations] Evgeni [Kogan] that there’s some light at the end of the tunnel," Coker explained. "We would welcome Fedor to have a long term deal with Strikeforce fighting on Showtime and we’re trying to get this done. It’s not done yet, there’s nothing signed. So really there’s nothing to announce."
Another hot topic of discussion Coker sloughed off by basically saying, "It’s a possibility, but there’s nothing to report," is the non-negotiations with Bellator that would potentially see Strikeforce strengthen its cards with a number of big name or up-and-coming fighters including Hector Lombard, Roger Huerta, Ben Askren, Jay Hieron, Eddie Alvarez and Jessica Aguilar.
"The way our company philosophy has always promoted–or it has not been afraid of co-promoting. We did it when we got into the business in mixed martial arts with, at the time, EliteXC. We’ve done it with M-1. We’ve done it with Dream. And each one of these business relationships — when I say that, there’s a fighter component but there’s also a business component to it — are all different," Coker said. "The deal with Dream, the deal with M-1, the deal with ProElite at the time, it’s all different. So everyone is different. With Bellator it comes with its own set of challenges. It doesn’t mean it can’t be overcome, maybe, maybe not. But to me, I’m just focusing on the 19th, this Friday night and then the 4th. And then we’ll take it to next year and see what happens."