Despite originally stating that Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem’s title would be on the line during the promotion’s upcoming Heavyweight Grand-Prix, Scott Coker revealed today that is no longer the case.
The plan had been for all the fights in the tournament to be five rounds, with Overeem’s title on the line every step of the way. Getting the commission to agree to that was another story however, with clear guidelines already in place for MMA fights that state non-title bouts are 3×5 minute rounds and titles bouts are 5×5 minute rounds.
Strikeforce had been hoping to negotiate an adjustment of the rules but it appears they were unsuccessful.
“All quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be scheduled for three, five-minute rounds,” Coker revealed today to MMAJunkie. “The tournament final will be five, five-minute rounds for the Strikeforce world grand prix championship.”
According to Coker the winner of the aforementioned grand-prix championship will then go on to fight Overeem for the Strikeforce heavyweight title.
It’s not perfect, but to my mind it makes more sense than their original plan. Five round fights would have only increased the likelihood of injury which is far from ideal for a tournament format, and the idea of the title potentially changing hands multiple times over the course of the grand-prix would only have led to confusion and devalued the tournament itself.
Coker also tied up a few other loose ends.
If a fight is declared a draw then an independent fourth judge will make the final call on who goes through based on the two fighters performance.
Finally, if required the person to replace an injured fighter will be decided by a, “five person review committee.” Their available choices will come from the winners of the reserve bouts, plus the injured parties previous opponents in the tournament.
With the rules set we can now look forward to the eagerly anticipated grand-prix getting underway on February 12th in a co-promotion between Strikeforce and M-1 Global headlined by Fedor Emelianenko Vs Antonio Silva in New Jersey.