If Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is to be believed then 2011 is going to be a big year for the promotion’s burgeoning heavyweight division.
“One thing I can tell you is all these guys … Alistair, Fedor, Fabricio, Josh Barnett, [Antonio] ‘Bigfoot’ [Silva], [Sergei] Kharitonov, Andrei Arlovski, Brett Rogers — all those guys are all going to fight each other in 2011,” Coker told Sherdog.com yesterday.
“We’re not going to hold anything back. You’re going to see these guys fight the toughest guys because really, if you’re a heavyweight, there are no easy fights in Strikeforce. It’s arguably the best heavyweight division in the world, and I think Josh Barnett said it best. The competition is here. He signed with us because he wants to fight all those guys. We’re going to put those fights together, and I think the fans are going to love it.”
I certainly hope this becomes a reality. Regardless of how you think their heavyweight’s stack up against the UFC’s there’s no doubt that this is now Strikeforce’s most significant and promotable division and they need to make the most of it.
I have reservations though. Despite Coker stating that they are not going to hold back, that might be easier said than done.
For instance, we’ve all seen the difficulties they have in getting M-1 Global on the same page with regards to Fedor’s potential opponents. Internal power struggles have meant that the Russian fighter has sat on the sidelines for most of the year, stepping into the cage just once in 2010.
Current champion Overeem is another fighter who Strikeforce apparently have difficulty controlling. After taking a two and a half year break from the promotion he vowed to make an extended run in Strikeforce in the second half of 2010. Instead he demolished Brett Rogers and then headed back to Japan to fight for K-1.
This is a serious concern as realistically, despite doing a good job of deepening the division, it’s success still revolves mainly around Fedor and Overeem.
So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Strikeforce do deliver big in 2011, but I’m still concerned that behind-the-scenes politics could once again rear it’s ugly head and stop fans from getting the fights they want to see.