I’m afraid to say that it’s official – Strikeforce have dropped the ball with their Heavyweight GP as news reaches us that the second set of quarter-finals will now be delayed until June 18th in Dallas.
That’s over two months beyond it’s originally planned date of April 9th, and incredibly means that in total there will have been a four month gap between the two pairs of quarter-final bouts.
Earlier, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker tried to put a positive spin on the news, indicating it would give them more time to promote the event to it’s full potential.
“The overwhelming success in New Jersey set the bar high,” Coker declared today in a statement delivered to MMAjunkie.com. “With a record pre-sale for Strikeforce tickets and a record viewership on Showtime, we’ve now given ourselves the proper amount of time to promote in one of the country’s biggest markets.”
What the statement doesn’t address is the fact that leaving four months in-between events kills much of the momentum they gained from the success of the first leg of the tournament, and with a lack of continuity there’s now a risk that casual fans will lose interest.
To my mind the only way I would think that such a move could be justified is if they had secured a deal to show the remainder of the tournament on CBS, but so far there’s no indication that is the case.
Coker originally stated his belief that the tournament could be concluded by October which always seemed a little ambitious, but with the first four fights of the tournament now set to take six months to complete, it begs the question whether they’ll manage to wrap things up by the end of 2011.
It’s a great shame as the grand-prix has the potential to take Strikeforce to the next level, but the fact that issues like this always seem to follow the promotion make you wonder whether they are attempting to bite off more than they can chew.
It’s not all bad news though. With the GP off it’s original April 9th date, Strikeforce have now drafted in a quality welterweight title fight between Nick Diaz and Paul Daley to serve as the main event, while Gilbert Melendez will attempt to defend his lightweight belt against Japan’s Tatsuya Kawajiri.