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Strikeforce Looking to Stretch Out Anticipated Heavyweight Match-Ups in a Grand Prix That Could Blow Up in Its Face

(Surprise, Strikeforce may be making a mistake with matchmaking.)

I never thought I’d ever speak out against a grand prix tournament, but because the proposed Strikeforce heavyweight tournament has so many question marks surrounding it, I’m almost hoping it doesn’t happen.

When Scott Coker mentioned earlier this year that Strikeforce was either going to piss or get off the pot when teasing its fans with heavyweight fights that never seem to come to fruition because of those crazy Russians for whatever reason, I thought he meant it.

What Sco-Co should have said was, "We’ll likely milk the current roster for whatever we can and if we can make the fights fans want to see, then we will, but we likely won’t."

According to Tatame, the California-based promotion is planning on stretching the tournament over three events and will likely anchor Strikeforce’s foray into pay-per-view TV — a move necessitated by the fact that it’s unlikely that CBS will be having them back on network TV in 2011 and the costs of greasing the pockets of M-1 Global for each Fedor-featured event are likely more than most Russians make in their lives.

To say that the mismatched opening round of the SF GP is underwhelming would be a major understatement.

The rumored Fedor versus Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva match-up is apparently still a go for February while Fabricio Werdum versus Sergei Kharitonov, Josh Barnett versus Brett Rogers and Alistair Overeem versus Andrei Arlovski are being worked on for March.

I admit that I was initially excited about the prospect of the grand prix, but then I thought about everything that could and likely will go wrong and now I’m not so sure it’s a good idea.

Here are the "unknowns" which may make this whole thing blow up in their faces.

The Prize: If Overeem is the champ and he will be competing in the tournament, will he be putting up the belt, and if so, what’s in it for him?

Overeem: The Strikeforce heavyweight champ only fought for the promotion once last year, defeating Brett Rogers by first round  TKO in his first title defense since winning the belt in 2007. Recognizing that we may not see him defend the belt while Obama is still in office, it looks like Strikeforce decided to make the best of "The Reem’s" remaining few contracted fights to ensure he doesn’t leave for the UFC with the belt.

Werdum: Given that his stock is currently higher than any other fighter on thier roster thanks to his surprise win over Fedor earlier this year, you would think that Strikeforce wouldn’t want to risk having him KO’d in the first fight back from elbow surgery. Kharitonov made Golden Glory teammate Overeem count sheep three years ago in the SF champ’s last loss under the K-1 Hero’s banner.

Fedor: "The Last Emperor" still hasn’t committed to Strikeforce, so planning a tournament around him doesn’t seem like a great idea, especially when M-1 may hold their PPV profits ransom.

Barnett: Where there’s drug testing, there’s always a question mark surrounding Josh Barnett, who is still hasn’t gotten his license in California reinstated since he single-handedly took down Affliction. When it comes to North American commissions, they tend to stand together and uphold any suspensions levied by one of their Associations of Boxing Commission brethren, so unless they’re planning on having him fight in Europe, they might be S.O.L. putting Barnett in the GP.

Arlovski: Although I wouldn’t say that "The Pitbull" has lost his bite, his jaw seems a bit more spongy than it used to thanks to KO’s by Rogers and Fedor. An uninspired loss to Silva made me wonder if we’re ever going to watch another Arlovski fight and not say, "Poor Andrei," or, "Holy shit. Is he dead?"

Cagepotato Comments

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Chiggs- January 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm
Why is Khartinov starin at Verdum like that???? :P ? Also, you sux for the AA Pic He's not lookin to impressed and no matter what Pose Ubereem takes, still a scary muthafucker @ LOL at half the comments, per usual :}
ccman- December 20, 2010 at 9:19 pm
Nothing cracks me up more than "real mma fan" comments. Like if you disagree you should watch cung or something.
ghostboner- December 20, 2010 at 8:37 pm
Although funny, your choice of photos for Arlovski will require a scolding from me, due to the fact that I still have not been able to detach myself from his nuuts. So I say to you CP, tsk tsk tsk. I will now continue patiently awaiting his return to glory.

Also, the dude who said Werdum is You dumb.
ThrashingMad- December 20, 2010 at 7:52 pm
Wow, you guys are fucking gay.
OneMorePunchFujita- December 20, 2010 at 3:38 pm
Elentius- December 20, 2010 at 2:29 pm
Don't forget that AA beat Werdum. Reem is overrated and does not win this.
Elentius- December 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm
I agree Bill. This does sound great to me as well. I guess it is just because we are real MMA fans. Yeah CP I said it.
the chef- December 20, 2010 at 1:50 pm
Hey, at least Strikeforce is finally putting some fights together. I think we all realized long ago that Strikeforce has no control over their fighters, so its a miracle they've even got this far. Even if there are some mismatches, at least we're finally gonna see some fights.
El Guapo- December 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm
I just want to see Fedor fight, period. A rematch versus Werdum would be ideal, obviously, with the winner getting Horsemeat(who knocks out Arlovski, Bigfoot and whoever else Coker has lined up).

While I'm still dreaming, might as well match Strikeforce's last man standing against the winner of the Mexican of American descent racist-Dos Santos matchup. Then I woke up and realized I'm supposed to be working. The End
Sodak- December 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm
Dude did you see how fat Werdum was for JDS, he didn't even train. JDS was a nobody at the time a part time waiter who was +400 on all the betting sites and werdum underestimated him. You can't use that fight as a comparison.

And yeah its possible JDS or cain might be able to hang in this tourney but we'll never know while they're hiding out in the UFC with the lesser talent, so until they man up and go to Strikeforce with the rest of the best theres no use talking about them and how good they WOULD do.
nickyroose- December 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm
JDs knocked Werdum out with ease and quickness. Reem lacks the wrestling to match Cain and no one else is worth mentioning, except the 'dor but I don't think he could get through to the end, he's hasn't fought top ten talent until Werdum for years and years. Barnett is not great and his a habitual steroid user, Silva got knocked down by Mike Kyle, both Cain and Two Saints have waaay more punching power and ability to finish, Arlovski is a stroke victim waiting to happen.

But being said I would love to see this happen. If anything what's irritating is there is no point in even having speculation this will happen. M-1 cannot deal with another Fedor loss and will prevent themselves from losing their only talent. Reem seems as interested in Defending the title as I'm interested in Japanese eel-butt porn (which is to say only a passing curiosity). Barnett shares only a passing resemblance to someone who USED to fight MMA. I can't see less than three guys backing out. That is honestly me being optimistic.

I wish I could be forced to admit being wrong if anything even close to this proposal happens.

No disrespect.
budsellers- December 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm
i will watch it, but imho, none of these fighters can be legitimately compared to cain or jds as top hw fighter in the world. not even by beating the others involved in this rumor...

my prediction is that at least 2 of these men will be replaced by moneyweights mo and kyle; barnett, arlovsky or fedor are most likely to fall out. strikeforce might get a couple more replacements via ufc firings too.

@lysol - i assume you are pointing at sodak
Lysol- December 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Sodak- December 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm
@ nickyroose i'd put money on the winner of this tourney vs the winner of JDS/Cain anyday just my opinion, these guys are proven fighters while the UFC HW division is up and comers. I don't think Cain or JDS would win this tourney.
WalterBarrio- December 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm
Strikeforce is trying their hardest to be the WCW of MMA. Is Kevin Sullivan booking this nonsense?
BryanF- December 20, 2010 at 11:54 am
Fuckin' badass picture they chose of Arlovski for the collage
knucklesamitch- December 20, 2010 at 11:44 am
This proposed GP has no actual value. Is the prize for winning the GP a giant cardboard check like in K-1? Is the prize the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship? If the prize is the belt, that makes zero sense. The belt isn't vacant, and not only that, the goddamn champ is in the tournament and doesn't have a bye all the way to the finals...What if Overeem steps on his dick and loses before the finals...Would the belt changes hands? I swear, I try to like Strikeforce, I really do...But I'm tired of looking like a fool everytime I try and justify this joke of an organizations business decisions to one of my friends who fails to see the value of subscribing to Showtime "just for Strikeforce".
nickyroose- December 20, 2010 at 11:44 am
@Sodak how do you figure? I don't think anyone in that bracket has a prayer against JDS except the Reemer and I think he'd get dominated by Velasquez.
Lysol- December 20, 2010 at 11:39 am

It's tournament seeding. The weakest always plays the strongest in the first round, hence why the least pathetic Ivy League school always gets crushed in basketball by the #1 school in the country every March
LOKI- December 20, 2010 at 11:38 am
Thats because that bastard Barnett just hit him in the back of the head.
Lysol- December 20, 2010 at 11:37 am
Strikeforce: Like YAMMA with people you've heard of.
Brian81- December 20, 2010 at 11:34 am
Prediction: Overeem vs. Fedor final.

More Accurate Prediction: This event has the about same chance of happening as Evan Tanner does of winning 185 gold. Just sayin.
Bruce_Buffer- December 20, 2010 at 11:33 am
Wait, Arlovski gets the Reem?! WTF has he done to deserve a shot at the title?! Or is that overeem thinks his legacy will be tarnished if he fights legit #1 contenders?

I do love the idea of this tourney, though. If they can pull this off, they will be nipping that much closer at the UFC's heels.
Sodak- December 20, 2010 at 11:29 am
Awesome heavyweight grand-prix! I don't know about all the irrational wining, guys should be protected, why have these guys fight?, how as a fan could you not be down with a sick HW Tourney, i'm stoked whoever wins this tournament is officially the best Heavyweight on the planet, just hope there aren't injuries.
Bill Jackson- December 20, 2010 at 11:27 am
? How can this be seen as a bad thing? This sounds great. the matchups are perfect. I would gladly pay for this over most UFC events. You guys are losing it around here.