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Heavyweight title confusion is undermining the credibility of Strikeforce

After the disappointing debacle at the conclusion of “Strikeforce: Nashville” involving Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Jake Shields, The Diaz Bros and others, there should be enough firepower on display during “Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery” to ensure that the show makes the headlines for all the right reasons.

However, there is one issue which the organization needs to urgently address: Confusingly Strikeforce currently has not one but two heavyweight champions. When Fedor Emelianenko fought Brett Rogers it was for the WAMMA championship which Emelianenko retained from his Affliction days and the reigning Strikeforce heavyweight champion is actually Alistair Overeem.

“The Demolition Man” will be defending his title in tonight’s main event. Somewhat surprisingly his opponent will be Brett Rogers, a man who was last seen losing to Emelianenko in November.

If Strikeforce is intent on having two individual championships in any of their weight classes, they need to ensure that these titles are unified at the earliest available opportunity.

Having two separate heavyweight champions is not a healthy situation and it is compounded by Strikeforce’s surprising decision to force both men to face the same challenger. Brett Rogers was resoundingly beaten by Emelianenko in his last Strikeforce appearance yet he somehow finds himself headlining a Strikeforce card in his very next fight.

Overeem might well be the overwhelming bookmaker’s favorite but Rogers has only ever been defeated by Emelianenko and will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of his first career loss.

If Rogers were to replace Overeem as Strikeforce heavyweight champion it would be hugely embarrassing for the organization. What sort of credibility can Rogers have as a champion given that he was recently beaten by Emelianenko?

Strikeforce still need to unify the titles and, while a battle between Overeem and Emelianenko could be intriguing, there would be little public appetite for a rematch of what was a fairly one sided encounter between Rogers and Emelianenko.

Emelianenko is scheduled to defend his WAMMA title against Fabricio Werdum next month, so a resolution does not appear to be imminent. MMA is not boxing and fans should not have to tolerate this type of situation. Strikeforce need to unify the two titles at the earliest available opportunity. If they do not a perceived lack of legitimacy could fatally undermine any future heavyweight championship bouts.

  • Jak says:

    I wish people would simply enjoy Strikeforce for the fights. That’s what they’ve always been good at, not much else other than that.

    Nashville failed in epic proportions in that Hendo was supposed to be the #2 MW in the world behind SIlva, Aoki was supposed to be the easy #2 LW behind Penn, and Mousasi was supposed to be possibly the top LHW who compete with the UFC champs.

    They failed on all levels with that.

    Tonights card doesn’t have a lot to do with titles(even with Overeem fighting), but it should be a great night.

    I don’t consider any of the SF champs to be tops in their division worldwide, but they’re all entertaining…

  • danw84 says:

    Well said Jak. Whether or not there is any legitimacy or sense in how they do their titles, more fights to watch is always better than less.

  • CrispyTaylor says:

    I think the article makes a good point. As nice as it would be for fighters to spend their careers fighting according to fan-picked matchups, like all athletes they want a natural progression in terms of challenge and reward. A championship belt is supposed to be symbol of being on top, it’s never a concrete thing in terms of meaning, but it’s still the goal of all fighters to be a champion so the belts shouldn’t be handled so sloppily.

  • Rece Rock says:

    The point of just sitting back and enjoying the fights is a nice concept but when most match ups are lop sided, SF notables are constantly being exposed, and the lack of depth in any division is an issue, it’s just hard not to watch and not think this is a subpar match up or the commentary is amature hour, it’s just pathetic that SF is the fans other option for stateside MMA… I know I say a lot of this stuff over and over but if none of the issues ever get cleared up or progress then where do they go from here? The HW debacle is hard to overlook as much as we like to pretend it’s no big deal… Fedor fighting B level fighters, sf not promoting the one unique division they have (womens) and try to expand the womens roster so they can have atleast one unique thing going for them… SF is just stagnant.
    Stay tuned Thursday nights for the little engine that could.

  • cocoonofhorror says:

    ZOMGZZ teh have teh 2 champs!! dey have no credibilities!!! derpy derp! why dont dey have 1 champ of teh HW like UFC always does?!! oh, wait….

  • RU486 says:

    The Probelm is that the WAMMA belt is a joke. It’s title that came out of a Cracker Jack box because after Pride folded, Fedor couldn’t be seriously considered the best in the world if he didn’t have a belt. WAMMA’s idea of having a fighters “Union” of sorts is a good idea, but to crown themselves the above-all authority of MMA is a little ambitious.

    Sorry Sam

  • blue says:

    This is the problem with co-promotions, who gets to keep the belt? The fighter or the promotion. It would be quite ackward for Fedor to bring the Strikeforce belt to M-1 only to have M-1 go do a co-promotion with dream and promote Fedor being the Strikeforce Champion. WTF?

    Co-Promotions must die.


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