(He thought that the throne would give him pleasure; the salesgirl at Pier 1 Imports specifically told him it would. But as he sunk deeper into the red velvet and began to watch the America’s Got Talent semi-finals, a tremendous ennui overtook him. Photo courtesy of Esther Lin/Showtime.)
Here we are, one month after Carano vs. Cyborg, and we still don’t know when Strikeforce is going to put on its next big event. October 10 has been floated as a tentative date for Fedor vs. Rogers, but it hasn’t been made official yet, and it would only give Strikeforce a month to promote the card. (Assuming Strikeforce starts promoting it today, hypothetically.) The hesitation is an unfortunate momentum-killer for Scott Coker & Co., but the reason for the delay is obvious: The longer Strikeforce waits, the more difficult it would be for the UFC to counter-program them with an impromptu live event. When you consider that Anderson Silva may not really be having elbow surgery and could potentially be unleashed at any time to headline a card on Spike TV, this is a very legitimate concern.
So yesterday, Michael Rome at Bloody Elbow had an eyebrow-raising solution: Strikeforce should schedule Fedor vs. Rogers on November 21st, the same night as UFC 106, which will of course feature Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin and Tito Ortiz vs. Mark Coleman. Why wait for the UFC to be the aggressor? After all:
Shawn at Fightlinker was forced to be the voice of reason:
Well, you had me up until that last sentence. Michael and Shawn are both right, and they’re both wrong. Here’s the deal: Strikeforce needs to schedule Fedor vs. Grim right now so they can begin doing their job as promoters, with a date that gives them enough time to sufficiently build up the event. Slotting the card against Brock Lesnar and Tito Ortiz is a sure-fire way to get blown out of the water, and trying to find an unclaimed date on the calendar will only invite counter-programming from the UFC. However, competing with an already-scheduled UFC event is not a terrible idea in itself. Strikeforce just needs to find where and when the UFC is weakest.
That date is obviously November 14th, when the UFC will be in Manchester, England for UFC 105. Right now, it looks like the show will be broadcast live on pay-per-view at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT, followed by a tape-delayed version on Spike that night. And right now, the card is very weak, with a lot of TUF 9 talent to appease the British fans, and not much else. Dan Henderson vs. Lil’ Nog is possible. Swick vs. Hughes is an option. Anderson Silva vs. Nobody On His Level can always be sprung on us. The bottom line is, there are no megafights in sight.
This is the moment that Strikeforce should pounce on. They already have Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers. If they can quickly set up Jason Miller vs. Jake Shields, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Matt Lindland (or Robbie Lawler), Nick Diaz vs. Jay Hieron, and perhaps Cris Cyborg vs. Erin Toughill, they’ll have a card that’s far more compelling than UFC 105 — which, by the way, hardcore fans will have already seen that afternoon, leaving their Saturday evening free for even more fight-watching on premium cable. If you can’t capture the attention of MMA fans in that scenario, you have no business running a promotion. Listen to me, Scott Coker: It’s November 14th or bust. Lock it in. Final answer.