“The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, and then expecting different results.” Albert Einstein
You must wonder why I opened this blog with a quote from Albert Einstein. Well, this quote was bouncing around in my head as I tried to figure out the thinking at Strikeforce.
On the heels of a huge night in St. Louis that saw the three main fights end in crushing knockouts, one would think that Strikeforce would try to build off that momentum for their first card of 2011. Or not.
The card for the January 29 event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose will not feature the grudge match between Nick Diaz and Jason “Mayhem” Miller. Nor will it feature the return of Fedor against “Big Foot” Silva. No, instead of two match-ups that would have added a great deal of excitement to the card, we get Diaz vs. Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, Trevor Prangley vs. Roger Gracie, Herschel Walker vs. Scott Carson, and in the only bout on the card I do want to see, Jacare Souza defending the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship against Robbie Lawler.
Some hardcore fans out there might be excited to see Gracie, and others may believe Santos has the ability to beat Diaz. There’s just one problem—the hardcore contingent is probably not big enough to move the needle for TV ratings or generate a sellout at the arena, which are two things Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker cited as criteria when asked about making fights.
It seems that this has been the case for as long as Strikeforce has been around. Get people talking about your product, and then yank the emergency brake by putting on a card nobody cares about.
Why not have Alistair Overeem, Josh Thomson, Gegard Mousasi and Marius Zaromskis on the January Strikeforce card instead on the New Year’s Eve DREAM card in Japan? Or, sit down with Diaz and Miller and figure out a way to make that fight happen. If that doesn’t work, why not bring Paul Daley back to face Diaz? He has as many Strikeforce victories as Cyborg, a far better record and just delivered a devastating knockout win in early December.
Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine would also be great additions to the televised card on the 29th, two of organization’s brightest young welterweight stars who continue to be relegated to the Challengers circuit. How about Woodley vs. Santos and Saffiedine vs. Marius Zaromskis? Instead, for some reason that I cannot comprehend, Woodley and Saffiedine are fighting each other on late notice on a Friday night Challengers card in early January—but I digress.
Coker will tell anyone who will listen about the depth of his Heavyweight division—names like Fedor, Josh Barnett, Overeem and champion Fabricio Werdum, to name a few. Good for you, Scott, but if none of these guys is ever in the Strikeforce cage, does it matter?
I have an idea, it goes like this…“Clinch Gear is proud to announce our new line-up of Bloggers—they include Stephen King, John Grisham, Mitch Album and me. I promise you, all those other guys are on our team, and you will see blogs from them in the not-too-distant future.” My guess is you will read Stephen King breaking down Kid Yamamoto vs. Urijah Faber before we see Fedor vs. Overeem, but what the hell do I know.
Look at the fights mentioned above and then look at the card the UFC will present seven days later. In the main event, Anderson Silva will defend the UFC Middleweight title against Vitor Belfort. This fight alone has me hyped up. Silva is a guy everybody seems to want to see get beat, and Belfort has major KO power as proven in recent wins over Rich Franklin and Matt Lindland.
Speaking of Franklin, he is in the co-main event against Forrest Griffin. Say what you want about these two guys, they always give you your money’s worth so that makes two fights I want to see. Finally, you have a great battle of up and coming stars when Jon Jones takes on Ryan Bader. If this fight was on any card it would make me consider shaking enough cash out of my wallet to cover the PPV costs, but when it’s put together with the two fights mentioned above it is a no-brainer.
It’s also a no-brainer to have expected Strikeforce to have shot a little higher when making fights for the card on January 29. I don’t know what the goal is in the offices of Strikeforce—I don’t know if they want to be the number one MMA promotion in the world, or if they are fine being a distant second. What I do know is that they need to do a better job of making fights if the decision is going to be theirs to make.