It’s fight week in San Diego! I don’t know if anybody else cares, but I am fired up for Saturday night’s Strikeforce card. Paul Daley vs. Nick Diaz has “Fight of the Year” written all over it. Daley, the trash talking, power punching Brit will be looking for his second brutal KO in the Strikeforce cage. I don’t know about you, but I have seen the highlight of Daley’s win over Scott Smith too many times to count, but am still amazed at the sight of Smith going face-first into the mat. Scott Smith is a tough guy, but was out cold and couldn’t get his hands up to cushion his fall.
I was also cage side when Diaz out boxed KJ Noons. Noons is another tough dude who battled injuries that night in San Jose, but that shouldn’t take away from a beautiful performance from Diaz. Thinking back on that fight, it makes me wonder what the strategy will be for Diaz Saturday. Will he try to take this fight to the mat to avoid Daley’s power or will he stand toe-to-toe as he did with Noons? Noons is a natural lightweight who came up to fight his rival. Daley will have 15 pounds on Diaz by the time the bell rings. Those 15 pounds can be a huge factor for power punchers like Daley.
This fight should have people buzzing; instead locally there is barely a whisper. I was called by the editor of the local paper last week. He was wondering if he should send a reporter to this fight, saying the guys in the sports department had no interest in the fight. I should be surprised, but I am not. I used to think it was just a San Diego problem, but I really think it is bigger than that. Sports media focuses on what they know, and let’s be honest nobody knows Strikeforce.
They do know the UFC and that should help in the future, but probably not in time for Saturday’s card. I just looked at Ticketmaster. 1/3 of the building will be closed off this weekend. That is unreal! This is a solid card with Diaz vs. Daley, A lightweight title defense by Gilbert Melendez, Gegard Mousasi fighting Keith Jardine, and Shinya Aoki on the card as well.
If Diaz vs. Daley was taking place under the UFC banner, I am willing to bet they would have been coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter” where the buildup could have been done the right way. Let Diaz and Daley talk trash for an entire season. Follow that up with a couple of “Countdown Specials” and all of a sudden this becomes a “must see” fight on Pay Per View as opposed to a free fight on Showtime.
I don’t understand the promotional approach from Strikeforce. I have friends that do talk radio in town. I asked them if anybody has called offering up interviews with fighters, promoters, announcers, etc. It was a resounding no. That’s a drag.
When you do 4 hours of live radio a day, 5 days a week you get sick of hearing your own voice. You are always on the lookout for somebody fresh and different. As fight fans we have all heard from Diaz and Daley. Those guys are quote machines, and would be terrific guests. The local media would love Daley and Diaz, they just need somebody from Zuffa or Strikeforce picking up the phone and giving them a 2 minute pitch on why these guys need to be featured in the paper, on the radio, or the local news. I would just like to see something to get people off their couch and into the arena.
It’s a tough time with opening day of San Diego Padres baseball taking place tomorrow (Tuesday) and the hated LA Dodgers in town Saturday night. When I write this it’s only Monday, and a lot can happen over the next five days. A well placed shove at a press conference can generate some sales. If you are within 100 miles I hope you will come out. I respect times are tough, but I think this is a decent card to spend your dough on. Changes are coming for Strikeforce, and that is a good thing. It’s just too bad they won’t happen in time to highlight what should be a hell of a fight.