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Tim Kennedy, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza to Compete for Strikeforce Middleweight Title in August; Tournament Off the Table

("Okay, fine! Team Edward! Team Edward!" Joey Villasenor gets chased down by Ronaldo Souza at Heavy Artillery. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

It was announced on Friday that Strikeforce: Houston — which goes down August 21st at the Toyota Center, and will be headlined by the light-heavyweight championship match between Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal and Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante — will also feature a fight between Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza for the organization’s middleweight title, which recently became vacant when Jake Shields got fired. But wait just a goddamned minute, wasn’t the new MW champ supposed be determined by a potentially epic tournament? Well, it seems that was the plan. Unfortunately, Strikeforce didn’t do their homework before booking the event. As explains:

Strikeforce had been planning a one-night, four-man tournament in Houston to determine its next champion. The four competitors were to be Kennedy, Souza, Robbie Lawler and Matt Lindland. Those plans, however, were nixed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation…

TDLR administrator Greg Alvarez confirmed to MMA Fighting on Saturday that Strikeforce wanted a one-night, bracket-style tournament for the Houston show, which will air live on Showtime. But Alvarez said that request was denied. "They asked if it was possible and I told them that when Tough Man was outlawed, the state also did away with tournaments back in 2001," Alvarez said.

Sec. 2052.254 of Texas’ Combative Sports Occupations Code specifically deals with tournaments. The code states: "An elimination tournament may not be conducted in this state."…

The four-man tournament Strikeforce was hoping for differed from early reports that the promotion would hold an eight-man tournament over several events to determine its new middleweight champion. But sources close to the organization told MMA Fighting that the idea of a one-night tournament gained major traction and was something the company was looking forward to promoting — until the Texas commission put the brakes on.

Ugh. And so, and eight-man tournament that was rumored to include names like Dan Henderson, Nick Diaz, Jason Miller, and Cung Le, drops to a four-man tournament that somehow includes Matt Lindland, before becoming just another vacant title fight between the best two guys who were available. Not that Kennedy and Souza aren’t worthy competitors. But they ain’t Jake Shields.

The Houston card will also feature KJ Noons vs. Jorge Gurgel, Sergei Kharitonov vs. Antonio Silva (possibly), and Bobby Lashley vs. the athletic and explosive TBA. And dig this related report from FightOpinion:

More on Strikeforce booking changes — Erin Toughill, who was supposed to get a ‘warm-up fight’ in September in order to set up a future fight against Cris Cyborg, will now be put in a #1 contender’s fight against Shana Olsen on 8/21 in Houston.

So let me get this straight. You’ve been talking up a Cyborg vs. Toughill fight on and off for months, and there’s really no reason for that fight not to happen, but before it does you’re going to hope that Toughill gets past Shana Olsen. Brilliant booking as always, guys. No chance of that blowing up in your face whatsoever…

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rite leg ospitahl- July 15, 2010 at 7:20 am
are u kidding me?...... i defended strikeforce like a mutha when yall was begging for em to burn after the fedor loss. i said no no no wait this middle weight tournament is gonna be like pride g.p. just wait, it will blow ur mind with awesomeness and amazement.... think about it mayhem miller, dan hendo, kung lee, lawler, diaz, the gator grip guy (souza)..... well fuck, me, running! this shit is major depressing. if it was me i would put off the tournament to another city, rather than just throw two guys that were due for a fight in and say, yeah whichever one of you guys wins this we'll give u a belt. strickeforce needs a swift kick in the pants and a slap in the face as an organization. i mean tighten things up over there. they just blew the biggest oppritunity they had to brag about ppv buys. so much potential over there... its a shame.
blood red rock- July 13, 2010 at 3:37 pm
I wish they never would have said anything about the tournament. That way when it eventually fell through we wouldn't all be let down so much.
vengful1- July 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm
Lysol you crazy bastard. Keep your wacky ideas to yourself. MMA fans would much rather see two dudes that most people don't care about fighting for the title. Strikeforce style!
Ballkick- July 13, 2010 at 10:47 am
StrikeForce match makers are showing signs of complete incompetence, middle-weight fiasco aside.
Erin Toughill 10-2 in a #1 contender’s fight against Shana Olsen 4-0?...Now anything can and does happen in the Women's MMA scene. (see Kim Couture for details.)
But look for another lop-sided affair here much like Cyborg/Finney.
Or even more entertaining,....Crazy Jealous Erin loses, and Olsen gets demolished by Cyborg.
Either one of these girls fighting Cyborg is like leading the lambs to the slaughter. But the line of willing Lambs, seems endless. It would be quite a career booster to beat that Bone-cracker. But neither of these girls will do it.
Swedish- July 13, 2010 at 9:59 am
F scott coker. He is worse than any vampire movie out there
Viva Hate- July 13, 2010 at 9:53 am
How do I know? Everywhere you look it is Twilight this and Twilight that, I am sick of hearing about the lame ass movie. It is impossible not to know what Team Edward means if you turn on a tv or make the mistake of walking into a mall.

I am petitioning for a Cagepotato ban on gay vampires.
ReX13- July 13, 2010 at 9:03 am
831>> Agreed, but if you go by "Edward" you're probably attracted to men anyway, so...
831 Father- July 13, 2010 at 8:56 am
I know almost nothing about Twilight, but come on, the name 'Edward" is now synonymous with that franchise. Sucks to be any guy with that fucking name.
Japanadian- July 13, 2010 at 8:51 am
@viva hate
how did you know it was a Twilight joke. U mad cause he's making fun of your favorite movie?
831 Father- July 13, 2010 at 8:42 am
Probably just a case of Coker and co. not doing their research before booking the Texas date. Then they looked at who was available for this show and couldn't figure out any decent, alternative main event.
FreddyFangers- July 13, 2010 at 8:14 am
Theres gotta be more to this story. Life doesnt end for Strikeforce in Houston. They could have put this off until the event after. There is no pressing issue to crown a MW champ. Hell they didnt make Reem defend his belt for two years.
ReX13- July 13, 2010 at 8:12 am
It seems like if Strikeforce really wanted the one-nighter, couldn't they have gone to a state that didn't have rules specifically dealing with tournaments? Hell, is Massachusetts still wide open for the next few months? Indian reservation? Strikeforce: Japan? Hello?

Something just doesn't sound right here. Am i the only one that thinks there's another part to this story?
Almost North- July 13, 2010 at 7:56 am
Yeah I had no idea what was going on with that caption and frankly I liked it better that way.
FreddyFangers- July 13, 2010 at 7:55 am

I believe they just ban tourneys in which the competitors will be fighting more than one match a night....I really hate this. Why dont they just try to put this tournament on at another event?
CheechFace- July 13, 2010 at 7:49 am
I say with great pride and complete lack of humility that I had no idea that was a stab at Twilight. I don't know or want to know what drivel it refers to.
My interest in vampires died when Buffy hung up her hot pants and stakes.
(With only a brief reprisal for Thirst. Not as good as Oldboy or the Vengeance flicks but a cool twist on the vampire tale)
ReX13- July 13, 2010 at 7:21 am
Ok, first Viva Hate>>> Twilight mocking is always permissable. Always. Seriously, i cannot hear people make fun of it enough.


I'm a bit confused about this "Texas outlawed tournaments" bit. TDLR administrator Greg Alvarez seems to be insinuating that any fights that are part of an elimination tournament are illegal under the state code--even the quoted code seems to suggest that. I find that interesting, since Bellator did two shows in Texas this year, eliminating dudes in the process.

And how Strikeforce manages to whittle down the awesomousity of an 8-man to a one night fight for a vacant title just blows my mind. It's like Coker is fucking his own company for tax purposes or something.
El Famous Burrito- July 13, 2010 at 7:13 am
You know, I keep waiting to use the quote from Dumb and Dumber in a Strikeforce article, but they never get around to the "totally redeem yourself!" part.

Fuck you, Strikeforce.
boog- July 13, 2010 at 6:50 am
I really shouldnt be surprised by this awful news, but hey, who am i kidding? This is fuckin strikeforce. They consistently make bad choices and make mostly bad match-ups. You'd think one brainiac who works for strikeforce would have done their fuckin homework so they'd know the regulations in texas. my god, their one chance to have me excited for a fight card goes down the drain.

this is going to be a shitty match for the middleweight belt because most people don't know who either guy is. let's see how they try to promote this.
Viva Hate- July 13, 2010 at 6:46 am
Okay, officially calling CP dead, a Twilight joke in the caption, are you serious? Whoever wrote that should be tied up, forced to watch War Machine’s porno with Tito Ortiz’s interview reel on repeat for a week as punishment.
Lysol- July 13, 2010 at 6:43 am
Okay, no one night tournament. Fair enough.
Hey, what do you know Strikeforce, you need fights that make sense on all your upcoming cards.
Do you think maybe you could make the eight man tournament over, get this, three different events?

I think my idea makes more sense, but I guess this is why I'm not an MMA Promoter.
knucklesamitch- July 13, 2010 at 6:43 am
tournaments are dumb...They'd end up awarding the title to Kennedy after losing to Jacare because both Jacare and the winner of Lindland/Lawler wouldn't be able to fight a second time....Or some other dumbshit scenario like that. Of course, that's EXACTLY what Strikeforce would typically deem "An Excellent Idea".
831 Father- July 13, 2010 at 6:35 am
Oh great, army man who looks down on non-military people in virtually every, single interview is suddenly getting a title shot with no build up whatsoever against Jacare, whom is only known by the harcore, internet MMA community. Does Coker WANT to make money anytime soon?

BTW, don't get me wrong, I have great respect for soldiers in general, but those who are cocky about it make my eyes roll.