(More headkicking in store for Shamrock in ’09?)
Ever since Strikeforce purchased “select assets” from Pro Elite we’ve been wondering a) which select assets, and b) what the hell does he plan to do with them? In an interview with USA Today, Coker inched closer to answering those questions, saying he’s spoken with 10 Pro Elite fighters and only one of them has tried to renegotiate his deal (we assume this was Kimbo Slice insisting he take a pay cut and be place on the untelevised undercard).
You’ll recall that Noons essentially turned his back on EliteXC when they tried to make him fight Nick Diaz on CBS and Noons was unhappy with the payscale and with rematching Diaz in general, who was slated to make more than him despite losing the first meeting due to a cut stoppage. Thomson is a quality, name opponent, and if Noons decides he doesn’t want to fight him either, we in the MMA world would probably do well to forget about “King” Karl altogether and let him box his little heart out.
As for other fights on Coker’s mind right now…
- With Cung Le as the Strikeforce middleweight champ and Robbie Lawler as the EliteXC middleweight champ, Coker said that “maybe Robbie could come take a fight with us and then eventually fight Cung.” And by “eventually,” he probably means after Le has kicked Frank Shamrock’s ass on TV again, which Coker said he’d like to do at the end of the year.
- Strikeforce’s official heavyweight champion is still the itinerant Alistair Overeem, who is rumored to be in talks with the UFC, but Coker said they “definitely want Alistair back this year fighting in the USA.” Interesting phrasing there.
- With the addition of Pro Elite’s welterweights, Strikeforce will attempt to establish a 170-pound title some time this year.
- At light heavyweight, Strikeforce’s champ is still “Babalu” Sobral, said Coker, “and there’s a lot of great fights for him at 205 with the two rosters combined.” So…we’re not even pretending that Affliction might be around long enough to vie for his affections, then?
- Coker made sure to mention that he loves to have a female fight on every card. As for whether Gina Carano would be one of those females, and whether she’d still compete at 140 pounds, which she habitually struggled to make, Coker said only:
“I know that she’s fought anywhere from 135 to 145. I’m not sure if she ever fought heavier than that. I’m sure I’ll sit down with them and decide what weight, but I think she was going to fight Cyborg for the title at 140.”
The key word there is “was.” Now if only Strikeforce can finally turn that was into a will.