Scott Coker discusses the details of Strikeforce Heavyweight TournamentPosted on January 5, 2011, 11:29 PM by Joey Santosus
With the recent confirmation of the Strikeforce Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament and the re-signing of Fedor Emelianenko, CEO Scott Coker has began rolling out his plans for 2011. The participants have been named and the bracket is set, however Coker acknowledges there are issues yet to be addressed.
The major question surrounds the division champ Alistair Overeem's participation and whether or not the title will be on the line.
"Right now, Alistair Overeem is the Strikeforce heavyweight champion," Coker explained. "That's something we can answer tomorrow, because what we're trying to do is clear it with the commissions to allow the fighters to fight more than three rounds outside of the title. The rules of MMA now say a five-round fight has to be a championship fight, and so we're working on that. Hopefully we'll have an answer soon on that."
There is also the on-going licensing issues that Barnett has encountered after being denied by the CSAC in 2009 for failing a required drug screening. Coker, however, did not seem discouraged.
"We've talked to four athletic commissions that will license him with a clean test. We feel confident that won't be an issue. Keep in mind Josh Barnett went to Sacramento six weeks ago, took a test and was clean. He hasn't fought for a year-and-a-half in America. He still has issues in California, so his fight won't be in California, but Josh has moved on, and we're moving on, too. He's been out of the fight business in America for 18 months. I think he's served his time."
After a lackluster 2010, the Strikeforce Heavyweight division seemed to lose momentum as the UFC's was at an all time high. However, with the UFC champ currently sidelined for much of the year, leaving the division at a stand-still, it appears Strikeforce is primed to prove its worth in 2011.