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UPDATE: Strikeforce rumored to be looking at heavyweight tournament in 2011, pair of PPVs

Fans of MMA’s legendary PRIDE promotion who are well-versed in the role tournaments played throughout the organization’s run in Japan are likely smiling today as it now appears Strikeforce may be taking a page from the PRIDE book by putting together a heavyweight Grand Prix next year with possible participants including Fedor Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, and Josh Barnett, as well as others.

News of the potential tournament was reported by Tatame, who also explained Strikeforce would be planning to promote at least part of the process on PPV. However, Five Ounces of Pain contacted Strikeforce representative Mike Afromowitz who clarified the official situation, saying, “The news being circulated about this tournament is just rumors.” Clearly, as enticing as it sounds to see, the aforementioned scenario’s actual occurrence is by no means set in stone at this point in time.

Also affecting the likelihood of rumor becoming reality are ongoing negotiations with Fedor’s camp. Though the status of Emelianenko’s contract extension is still up in the air, if he does indeed add to his present deal and throw his name in the alleged group he will bring valuable experience with him into the bracket. The highly-ranked Russian was the winner of PRIDE’s 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix with wins over Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman and dual victories on the same night against Naoya Ogawa and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the final.

Given Strikeforce’s current roster, if the Grand Prix were to take place, it seems other entrants are likely to include any or all of the company’s top heavyweights like Andrei Arlovski, Antonio Silva, Sergei Kharitonov, and Brett Rogers.

PHOTO CREDIT – Susumu Nagao

18 COMMENTS
  • twyg says:

    Love the idea of a tournament. I would set it up as follows; bracket one would have Overeem vs. Werdum and Arlovski vs. Kharitonov. Bracket two would have Barnett vs. Rogers and Emelianenko vs. Silva. This bracket setup avoids rematches of fights from the not too distint past and sets up a Overeem vs. Emelianenko final. It gives us a possible Barnett vs. Emelianenko semi-final. Not to mention it gives us the Strikeforce heavyweight champ against the linear(?) heavyweight champ. That’s right in case you didn’t know the linear HW champ is Werdum, because that’s what Fedor was before he got subbed. So strikeforces title will then be the linear HW title in mma. All other Linear champs are ufc champs.

  • MCM says:

    I’d love to see this happen, but I don’t think we’ll see it come to fruition. If it does, I don’t think Fedor would be a part of it as it would take up most of his “new” contract without allowing for renegotiation’s between every match. Overeem may want to participate as he seams to enjoy tournaments, but I can’t see Coker further risking the validity of his HW belt by allowing the Champ to potentially loose in a tourney while still keeping the title.
    However, it would be excellent opportunity to showcase some of Strikeforce’s lesser known stars. Del Rosario, Cormier, and Griggs could all use the exposure and help Strikeforce develop their roster and potential PPV’s.
    Arlovski vs. Kharitonov, Barnett vs. Cormier, Rosario vs. Silva, Rogers vs. Griggs, Walker vs. Lashley hell, sign Monson and Timmay and have it all culminate on a card with Overeem vs. Werdum and you have a clear cut #1 contender.

    I know I’ve left out Fedor, but until his contract is renewed, it’s pointless to include him as he may not be available. If it does get worked out, it’s pretty easy to slip him into the tourney.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    I love the idea but I don’t like the 2 fights in one night scenario. I would prefer 3 cards 3-4 months apart and the winner of the tourney to face the SF HW champion in Dec.
    In the tourney I would have 8 fighters and 2 reserves. Meanwhile I would have Silva, Fedor and Werdum, Overeem duking it out outside of the tourney. The Guys I would invite or have participating are Rogers, Barnett, Ricco, Cormier, Kharitonov, Aleks, Rosario, Arlovski and Reserves would be either Sylvia, Monson, Lashley, Rizzo Gracie or Abdurahimov. It would be nice if Bellator let some of it’s HWs attend too.
    I just hope it happens.

    P.S. I wonder if Lesnar, Valasquez or Dos Santos will attend. Oh that’s right, they are forbidden. I wonder what it is like not be free?. It is funny that Fedor comes from the former communist state and is pretty free as far as being able to chose who and where he fights and Lesnar comes from the “land of the free” and is anything but free to choose.

  • MCM says:

    God, you’re annoying.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    That is what I do.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Aww come on guys. It’s funny cuz it is true. UFC fighters are not free compared to most non-UFC fighters.Just trying to show you how ironic it is. Guess I missed the mark.
    O.K. I’m sorry, just because the UFC is a dictatorship and fighters have very little freedom of speech or choice and absolutely no option to go outside to test the waters in no way resembles the former soviet blocks at all. I’m sure they are free to drink whatever lite beer they choose.
    But for a few moments just imagine this scenario.
    Barnett vs Struve
    Fedor vs Nelson
    Overeem vs Mir
    Bigfoot vs Nog
    Kharitonov vs Lesnar
    Cormier vs Dos Santos
    Werdum vs Valasquez
    Rogers vs Carwin
    All joking aside, this is why I hate the UFC contracts. They make this scenario impossible. As you can tell by the time I spend here, I love MMA with a passion and I can not see the best compete. That really frustrates me. I don’t know why so many are not as bothered as me. Am I the only 1 who wants all of the best fighters in the world to be able somehow to compete against each other.

    P.S. Mr White, tear down this wall.

  • MCM says:

    Looks like it’s gonna be
    Fedor/Bigfoot in Feb.
    Werdum/Kharitonov in March
    Rogers/Barnett in ?
    and Overeem/Arlovski (WTF!)

    and it’s looking like it’s gonna be on PPV.

    this is according to TATAME.

  • Sykotick says:

    Overeem v Arlovski?! Are you serious MCM?! That’s insane!

  • Dufresne says:

    UFC fighters are not free compared to most non-UFC fighters
    True, but the flip-side of that is that SF is not free to make the matches they want, with the fighters they want, when they want because they “allow” their fighters to fight for almost every promotion imaginable. So you can rail against the UFC for their strict, limiting contracts, but if you do, you can’t complain about the fact that SF is only able to put together one decent card a year as opposed to the UFC’s 5+.

    I would love to see a lot of the matchups you’ve suggested, but if I have to sacrifice those to have a steady and superior MMA product, I will.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Agreed Dufrense. They are more free but freedom comes at great cost, I just want a peek (a damn good look) at how it would all pan out. Just 2 or 3 years of no exclusive contracts please!.

  • qat says:

    yeah because it works so well in boxing and we always get to see the fights we want there. even when BIG money is involved, pac vs. mayweather.., and thats just the the tip of the iceberg.

    do you know the saying “too many cooks spoil the broth.”?
    thats exactly what would be happening, because everybody, to a certain degree, is egoistic and wants maximized money on the long run. and i dont just mean the promoters, i mean the managements and fighters too. (while i think the fighters deserve it).
    in boxing, a single loss could be fatal to your career, and everybody has like 20 cans on his record before he even steps in the ring with a legit opponent, is that what you want?
    anyway, it would be far from an ideal “we get to see the fights that we want”-scenario.

    tell me, how long are we already waiting for fedor vs. overeem? since how long now did coker said he wants to make that fight? so it doesnt seem to work very well even when their market-position should make them to do the big fights..

    i dont care if its the ufc or dream or how its called. in my mind there has to be a single most-important league, and i say league because it does not have to be necessarily a promotion. at best overseen by an democratic international association. similar to fifa –> football, just without the corruption ;). from there on you can make divisions all you want, just a clear “world stage” with championship belts so to speak, where the best fighters fight the best. and i would implement some sort of elo-system for the fighters, because subjective rating cant work in the long run.

    the problem is, mma has already evolved too much, and only the ufc could launch such process. and it is not reasonable to think they would give up any power. so its best just to hope they do financially and promotionally so well, that they can acquire all the best fighters, and are willing to make the best fight each other.
    because if you like the ufc or not, they are not going to crumble anytime soon.

  • Spoken says:

    all due respect, mma-logic, but you make the case that strikeforce should be more accountable when it comes to their messed up situation with M-1 because they dont have to agree to their terms. I agree with you there. problem is, however, that youre twisting logic to say that fighters dont have freedom in the ufc because of some sort of control issues. just like strikeforce, the fighters dont HAVE to sign the exclusive contract. they can choose to fight for strikeforce, dream, bellator, sengoku, hdnet fights, etc. instead of the ufc. they choose the ufc because it is the highest paying org with the most top fighters in the sport. to be a part of that requires an agreement that you will not fight for the competition. this is common business practice. freedom is in the choice whether to agree to the terms or move on somewhere else, which is exactly your point with strikeforce/M-1.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    “common business practice”

    OK name another sport where this happens.
    There are none. In every single other sport I know of the best can compete in some way. Here they can’t. Soccer, Baseball, Rugby, Tennis, Golf, Running etc. The only others that I could think that are even close is … nope none. This is not common at all, it is unique.
    MMA is the only sport in the world in which some of the best are prevented by law from competing with the rest.
    But I can see where you are coming from they have a choice. You either sign with the UFC or you don’t. It is a shame that my whole point was that after you sign you have no choice but anyway. I’m glad you cleared up the issue of being free before you have signed. I couldn’t agree more.You are free BEFORE you sign but not after. That was my point dude. You can say no, true but once you have signed you are only allowed to fight in the UFC etc. You lose all of your freedom.
    M1 is not offering an exclusive contract to SF and is not going to take away SF’s rights to do whatever it chooses to do with other fighters etc.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Every one always talks boxing as if it is so much worse. Well in boxing you can fight each other in MMA you can’t at all. You are prevented by law. Well which is worse?. In boxing it generally does happen but in MMA it can’t. Fedor vs a UFC champion ring a bell?.
    The best scenario I can come up with is that the UFC Dream SF and a few others are major promoters and they share fighters, like most non-UFC orgs are doing now. It is not perfect but it is much better than not being able to fight at all. You do see that right. At the moment they CAN’T fight. Randy tried and look what happened. If you are content having half the best fighters in the world prevented from fighting the rest, well good luck. I want to see them all compete like every other sport on the earth.

  • Rece Rock says:

    glad everyone is amped up for yet another tourney that will never come to fruition… and even if it does it will be spread out over a year… you know what that’s called??? hmm its called having your HW division active and calling it a tourney… wow clever.

  • Spoken says:

    The Chicago Wolves will never play the Chicago Blackhawks in hockey(im from Chicago). What if they both happen to be the best hockey teams in their leagues? They still wont play because they are each part of their own respective leagues. And exclusive contracts are absolutely common business practice. I couldnt sign a 1-year contract with the Bears and then halfway through the season play a couple games with the Vikings because they are playing better teams, and then go back to the Bears when they make the play-offs. I couldnt decide i want to go play arena football with the Chicago Rush a year and a half into a 3-year deal. When an MLB team signs a Japanese import, they cant go play in the Japanese leagues until their contract is up with the MLB. This is 100% standard operating procedure in professional sports.If Cain Velasquez wants to fight Alistair Overeem, then he can fulfill the remainder of his UFC contract, sign a deal with Strikeforce, and work his way to a title fight. There is nothing unreasonable about this process. Fans aren’t always going to get every fight they want because of the natural boundaries that exist in all sports and in all business.

  • Rece Rock says:

    no disrespect spoken but thanks for stating the obvious.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Olympics and world cups baby!. I’m not from America but don’t they have finals.
    It is the only sport in the world where the top fighters or participants are prevented from competing.
    MMA is Unique.
    There are no sports on the planet at all that the top can not compete.
    World cups, All star games, Olympics etc.
    UFC top fighters never compete with top non-UFCers ever.

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