(“OK Shane, now make vacant, dead-eyed love to the camera … beautiful …” Pic: DwightMcCann.com)
Remember the clamor of self-righteous public outcry that sprang up a couple weeks ago – mostly from the vigilant moral watchdogs who write for this website – when it seemed like Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was already angling to get Fedor Emelianenko back in his company’s heavyweight tournament mere moments after his loss to Antonito “Bigfoot” Silva via aura-shattering doctor stoppage? What about all those so-called alternate bouts, we shrieked, voices cracking. What about 10-1 Chad Griggs and poor, overlooked Valentijn Overeem? What about Shane del Rosario, who we thought clearly put himself in the pole position with his slick submission on Lavar Johnson during the closing minute of the first round? We were fucking outraged. Oh, the hypocrisy!
Yeah, as it turns out, del Rosario told Sherdog this week he’s actually not that worried about it. Like, at all. Quotes after the jump.
“It’s not that big of a deal for me,” del Rosario said during a live appearance on the ‘Savage Dog Show.’ “I’m glad I just had an opportunity to fight on the same card as Fedor and some of these guys. To me that was a great honor. If I don’t make it into the tournament this year … it’s not a big deal. I would rather actually have another four fights this year if possible and just earn my own spot into the tournament next year.”
OK, we a see few possibilities here: Either del Rosario is just doing the whole “humble athlete” thing or Coker’s people got to him and told him not to make stink about this shit OR he legitimately doesn’t really care about being in the tourney.
If it’s the latter, we honestly couldn’t blame the 26-year-old prospect for wanting to – you know – actually fight fights during 2011, instead of waiting around to see if this tournament thing really does or does not happen. With the second leg of the grand prix’s opening round rumored to be pushed back from its original April date, it appears that quarterfinal winners like Silva and Sergei Kharitonov might be waiting a good long while for their semifinal matchups. Del Rosario, currently 11-0, makes it sound like he’d rather be a bit more busy.
“You definitely have to go into the fight game smart …,” he said. “I’m really trying to be methodical about this and really think about it. That’s why I was never really into calling out the champ right away or wanting to fight the top guy right away. I need to pay my dues and get some experience and really get to the point where I can beat those guys and stay there and make a run at the belt … At the same time, if someone gets injured and they want me in, I’m definitely going to be training hard and coming in to fight. I’ll definitely take the opportunity.”
As for the idea that he’d “earn his own spot into the tournament next year,” well, the idea that Strikeforce would try to do this thing again is just crazy, right? On the other hand, at this rate the current GP might well still be going on come 2012.