Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that Paul Daley won his outsourced title qualifier in England over the weekend, crushing Deep champ Yuya Shirai in the first round, as you may observe above. This fight was to be for the BAMMA welterweight strap, but since Daley missed weight (again), it was downgraded to a non-title 3-rounder. Not that anyone other than BAMMA themselves gives a shit about that, since we all know what was on the line for Daley in that fight, and it wasn’t some Brit bushleague’s worthless belt.
Not surprisingly, Scott Coker gave not a single shit, and confirmed Tuesday via MMAJunkie that Daley will indeed challenge welterweight champ Nick Diaz on their April 9th card, alongside the long-rumoured Melendez/Kawajiri lightweight title fight. Coker had been conveniently unfortunately “sick” for the past week and unavailable for comment, allowing rumours to swirl unabated that the heavyweight tournament was being postponed. The official press release won’t come out until Thursday, but at least he finally admitted what we pretty much already knew… just don’t expect him to admit that it’s largely because of Josh Barnett. Check out his statement after the jump:
“The overwhelming success in New Jersey set the bar high,” Coker today told MMAjunkie.com in a prepared statement. “With a record pre-sale for Strikeforce tickets and a record viewership on Showtime, we’ve now given ourselves the proper amount of time to promote in one of the country’s biggest markets.”
If we didn’t know about Barnett’s problems that’d sound like a reasonable excuse, but come on, Scott… we know. And I guess it was just miscommunication that all the guys in the remaining quarterfinals thought they were fighting on April 9th until today. Well now they can go ahead and reschedule for June 18th in Dallas, where what passes for an athletic commission in Texas conveniently won’t bother to do piss-tests. Neat how that works out.
According to Twitter, former LHW champ “King Mo” Lawal could also reappear in Dallas, and maybe even Miss Carano. I guess this is where we’re supposed to be all like “OMG OMG OMG!” with boners over Gina. Whatevs.
Back to the April 9th card, resident hair-model KJ Noons says that he also expects to get in on that event, wisely returning to lightweight after breaking both his jaw and hand in his last fight with Diaz. While he doesn’t yet know his opponent, everyone’s favourite Japanasshole Shinya Aoki was coincidentally just added to the card, thus possibly setting up a “classic striker versus grappler match!” for Mauro Ranallo to yell about. Joining Aoki on his trip back to America is WEC washout and new Dream featherweight champ Hikoyuki Takaya, but since Strikeforce doesn’t officially even have a 145-lb class, who the fuck knows what they’ll do with him.
Also apparently being considered for April is another on-paper mismatch for 4-0 grappling whiz Roger Gracie, this time against former Strikeforce and Dream champion Gegard Mousasi. Sure, Gracie recently subbed 23-6-1 veteran Trevor Prangley in the first round, but Prangley is no Mousasi. “Sweet Sassy” currently sports a much more impressive 30-3-1 resume, and is widely considered to be ranked just outside the top-10 in the world. And unlike the June 18th event, this one is expected to go down somewhere in California, where the only-slightly-sketchy athletic commission may or may not approve of such a huge experience gap. But if that falls through, Mike Kyle is a possible (and much more appropriate) opponent for Gay-hard instead.
Considering that April 9th is just over 5 weeks away and that card still consists of a grand total of two just-confirmed matches plus a couple rumours, Strikeforce better get its shit together quick, cause they’re getting more and more like Japan all the time.