(“My suit? No, it’s not Mr. Big and Tall, it’s Brooks Brothers. I got a Zuffa corporate card now.”)
The California State Athletic Commission today revealed the salaries from last weekend’s Diaz vs. Daly event in Stockton, and for the most part the fighters from the card were pretty well compensated.
The top money-earner of the night was welterweight champ Nick Diaz who netted $175,000 for his beatdown of Paul Daley. For his effort, Daley took home $65,000. Tied for second place in the night’s salary rankings are Strikeforce lightweight kingpin Gilbert Melendez and former light heavyweight champ Gegard Mousasi who both took home $150,000 for their efforts. The disparity between the take-home pay of Melendez and Mousasi’s opponents was interesting. Tatsuya Kawajiri picked up $97,612.50 for eating a handful of Melendez’s “hellbows” while Keith Jardine made just $25,000 for taking Mousasi the distance.
Nick Diaz: I know Georges St. Pierre is the obvious answer, but then I think about GSP out-wrestling Nick for five rounds and the dream-fight becomes a lot less dreamy. I’d actually be more interested in seeing Diaz try to avenge his 2005 decision loss to Diego Sanchez, another fighter who puts on a thrilling show every time he steps into a cage. Diaz has probably not forgotten his beef with Sanchez, and Diego has actually suggested that the two settle their rivalry as opposing coaches on TUF. Cosigned, homey.
It’s just as well. Frankly “011-44-115″ is harder to remember than “209″ (Pic: Strikeforce.com)
The first major Strikeforce event under the Zuffa/Forza banner delivered a full night of action and first round stoppages, with a little of the obligatory ‘Majority Draw’ bullshit mixed in for good measure. While it was a typical Strikeforce show from top to bottom, the UFC hardly tried to keep a low profile at the event. Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta were both in attendance, the cage floor advertised the upcoming GSP-Shields fight, and talk of cross-promotional bouts peppered the event from the commentator booth to the stupid text polls. Maybe it’s just us, but there are far more important issues to vote on.
After years of watching Nick Diaz win the stand-up battle against “better strikers”, is it now time for us all to admit that he is the better striker? In true Diaz fashion, he did exactly what he said he would do and exactly what the media and fans alike discouraged- stand up with a dangerous striker. Like a successful version of Jorge Gurgel, Diaz has built his mystique and fanbase upon his refusal to utilize his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and his unquenchable thirst to punch dudes in the face. While victorious once again, that doesn’t mean he dominated the fight. Daley’s power was a known commodity headed into this bout, which made the both the risk and the reward to stand and bang with him all the greater for Diaz. The two exchanged heavily throughout the one-round fight, and twice “Semtex” dropped Diaz to the floor in what looked like the beginning of the end for the pride of Stockton.
Of the five betting websites we perused this morning, only one – Bookmaker.com – is offering lines on all four of Strikeforce’s scheduled televised bouts as well as a couple from the undercard. Most electronic bookies are steadfastly avoiding Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine, likely because they don’t want to be complicit in Jardine’s untimely demise. Not Bookmaker though, those brave motherfuckers are posting odds on that fight and somehow still allowing prop bets on the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix. A guy can still get Fab Werdum to win it all at +550 over there, if you’re interested. In order to stay focused on the here and now however, after the jump are the lines for Saturday night’s “Diaz vs. Daley” show courtesy Bookmaker, plus our picks.
God willing and the creek don’t rise, we’ll get some answers over the next couple of months. Edgar and Maynard will (fingers crossed) settle their differences for good at UFC 130, the Pettis Hypothesis will be proved or disproved against Clay Guida in June and either Dunham or Sotiropoulos will get back on track after their newly-announced bout at UFC 132. Until then though, it’s just a goddamn schmazz. When you read our latest rankings after the jump, you’ll see that the top three spots in the lightweight division are pretty self-explanatory. After that, we’re really just picking names out of a hat.
Unfortunately, one of the names on the poster — lightweight title contender Tatsuya Kawajiri — might have to drop out of the event, due to the current devastation in Japan. According to an MMAJunkie report, Jorge Masvidal and KJ Noons have been asked to stand by as replacements in case Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki are unable to compete. Masvidal and Noons were originally slated to face each other on the “Diaz vs. Daley” card, which goes down April 9th card in San Diego; now we could be seeing Melendez vs. Masvidal and Noons vs. Lyle Beerbohm. We’ll let you know when things are official.
Aoki’s last Strikeforce appearance ended in a five-round shutout at the hands of Gilbert Melendez at Strikeforce: Nashville. He won his next three MMA bouts in Japan, but most recently got knocked out in a bizarre mixed-rules bout against Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima at Dynamite!! 2010. As for Beerbohm, the Spokane-based fighter had his perfect record snapped last month in Texas, when he got out-worked by Pat Healy in one of the greatest grappling exhibitions in recent MMA history.
Strikeforce announced today via press release that its planned April 9 event which was supposed to play host to the remainder of the opening round bouts of its heavyweight grand prix tournament will be put on hold until the summer. According to the promotion’s CEO, Scott Coker, they ran out of time to properly promote the event.
“Strikeforce is coming off a record presale and impressive attendance for the kickoff of the Grand Prix at IZOD Center in New Jersey that also drew a record viewership on SHOWTIME for live MMA,” said STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott Coker. “To build on the tremendous momentum from New Jersey we needed the proper time to promote an event of this magnitude, which is why we have decided to continue the Tournament on June 18 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, a venue that has been identified as one of the premier sports and entertainment venues in the U.S.”
So let me get this straight. Strikeforce wanted to build on the tremendous momentum created by the success of its first grand prix quarter final event, so it decided it would be best to delay the second event by two months? Seems like a logical way to keep the momentum going.
As Japanese MMA seems to slowly dwindle away from the glory days of the sport, hardcore fans like myself shed a tear for our great loss. It wasn’t just knowing those obscure 135-pounders whose names had syllables our gaijin tongues could barely pronounce, or the fact that it was the land where stomping and soccer-kicking a human being in the face was perfected into a sweet science. More than that, it was the stars that were produced that we came to know and love, whether they were fighting someone on their level or tearing open a tomato can — and that is where this list begins.
Blatant mismatches aside, JMMA gave us so many beautiful fights with men like Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko “Crocop” Filipovic (go tell your favorite TUF noob that his last name is not Crocop and relish in their confusion), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Ikuhisa Minowa and Kazushi Sakuraba. For every epic bout that went into the history books for their unbelievable drama, we had other fights that we remember for less than pleasant reasons. Yes, the freak show fights! What would a JMMA event be without a match worthy of a 1930′s carnival? The big question here was how do I rank something that is mediocre to begin with? Well, I’m as clueless as you are, so let’s get started on this journey down “Freak Show Lane,” across the street from “What Were They Thinking? Boulevard”…
10. Daiju Takase vs. Emmanuel Yarbrough
Pride 3, 6/24/98
This was the first freak show fight in Pride history, and earns a place on this list for that merit alone. It pit 169 lb. Daiju Takase against 600 lb. Emmanuel Yarbrough, who most fans will recall was clobbered into submission by Keith Hackney and his broken hand at UFC 3 (Yarbrough has no luck in any event associated with the number three). The sumo plodded around the ring tossing his hamhock arms at Takase, while the smaller Japanese fighter fled and slowly wore down Yarbrough.
Takase makes the mistake of going for a lazy single leg on Yarbrough, which results in the large fighter flopping onto his belly and absorbing Takase into his flesh. As Stephen Quadros lamented, “This is horrible! This is like “Jaws!” Eventually, Takase slid out from the greasy underside of Manny, and in an ending eerily similiar to his UFC 3 fight, Takase went to town with clubbing hands to his exhausted opponent’s face, leading to a tapout in the middle of the second round.
(Despite not being able to afford a shirt, JZ remains upbeat about the situation.)
When you’re a fighter and your income is dependant on how often you fight, it’s understandable that you might get a bit upset when your employer, without explanation, keeps you out of work for an extended period of time.
"JZ" has been sitting on the sidelines waiting since October for Strikeforce to call to tell him when he would be fighting next. Unfortunately for the American Top Team lightweight his phone has been silent the past three months so he decided to take matters into his own hands and contacted the San Jose-based promotion to see what was up.
Not surprisingly, he was given the runaround.
“I’m basically in the dark. I wanted to fight on either the December or January Strikeforce card. I was told they were full, so I was told I’d be fighting in the February show," JZ, who signed a four-fight deal with SF prior to his last fight explains. "That got full, so I heard March would be it. But that’s coming up quickly. I don’t know when or who I’m fighting.