When Dana White announced that both Paul Daley and Kimbo Slice were to be released from their UFC contracts, questions immediately began to be asked about the likelihood of them ending up with the promotions biggest rival, Strikeforce.
So what are the chances of them signing on with Scott Coker’s company, home to stars likeFedor Emelianenko, Gina Carano and Dan Henderson?
Coker himself is so far playing it cool, suggesting they are in no rush to obtain the services of the pair. He’s not flat-out discounted the possibility though so let’s take a look at some of the positives and negatives if such a deal were to take place though.
One of Strikeforce’s weak points remains the depth of it’s divisions so any time recognized fighters come onto the market then ideally they would be first in line to pick them up. Paul Daley has the skills to be a welcome addition at 170lbs, particularly since it looks like their current champion Jake Shields may soon be headed in the opposite direction.
His current notoriety should generate the kind of publicity for his fights that you just can’t buy, and unlike many of the UFC’s cast-offs, Daley’s recent record is still respectable having knocked out quality UFC welterweights like Martin Kampmann and Dustin Hazelett during his brief stay, and being one win away from a title shot.
Meanwhile the major attraction of Kimbo is obvious. He has been a proven ratings winner wherever he has fought, whether it be on YouTube, with EliteXC, and with the UFC. As an added beneift he also give the promotion options at both light-heavyweight and heavyweight which they could certainly use.
Both fighters also have strong characters and are good, in their own unique ways, at generating hype for their upcoming fights which is always an asset to a promotion, and perhaps something that is missing from certain other Strikeforce stars like Fedor and Dan Henderson.
As far as Kimbo Slice goes the financial aspect is certainly an issue as he will command a healthy fee for his services. Scott Coker has noted that it’s the reason why they did not pick up his contract last year in the wake of EliteXC’s collapse, and it’s no less of an issue now.
You also have to question whether he’s actually worth it with the fighter having now lost convincingly in EliteXC to Seth Petruzelli, Roy Nelson on The Ultimate Fighter, and most recently Matt Mitrione in the UFC.
There may be short-term gains to be had in terms of ratings, but that has to be balanced out by the potential damage to the company’s reputation if he continues to lose, or has to be paired up with low quality opponents in order to stay competitive.
As far as Daley is concerned his recent unruly behavior at UFC 113 may be a little too close for comfort to the scenes we saw at Strikeforce: Nashville recently. Strikeforce want to distance themselves from that incident, and also have to keep CBS executives on-side, and bringing in another ‘bad boy’ could send the wrong signals.
The other issue with Daley is that is certain to end up with some form of suspension resulting from the incident with Josh Koscheck at the weekend.
What Should Strikeforce Do?
To my mind Strikeforce should certainly be looking to sign Paul Daley if at all possible, regardless of the potential pitfalls. Picking up the best available talent should be their priority given their limited roster, and at this present moment in time Daley fits the bill.
A fight with Strikeforce’s own bad boy and current 170lb champion Nick Diaz would undoubtedly generate a buzz amongst fans and practically promote itself, though they might want to invest in extra security staff just in case things get out of hand!
Kimbo Slice is a harder one to call. Right now I feel like he’s reached the stage where he should head over to Japan to do ‘freak show’ fights for DREAM where he would surely become the next Bob Sapp.
Having said that, if Strikeforce are willing to pay a fighter that boosts ratings but carries a hefty paycheck and has limited fighting ability like 48 year-old Herschel Walker, then why not Kimbo? As was proven in the last Strikeforce event on CBS, the company is still short of genuine stars who can pull in big ratings so it’s may prove difficult for them to turn their back on someone like him.
In an ideal world the perhaps the best thing would be for the two fighters to sign for DREAM. That should allow Strikeforce to make use of the exchange program between the two promotions to bring them over for a fight or two when required. That way they get some benefit from them while having less long-term risk and liability.