An alliance between Strikeforce and DREAM has been forged, although pardon me for being a negative Nancy as usual and questioning how awesome the whole deal will turn out. Here’s MMA Weekly with the details from Strikeforce’s end:
“At the beginning of this MMA relationship, we had talked about having Dream fighters come over, and our fighters go over there, and having this relationship,” Coker told MMAWeekly.com. “Well, we all got busy and we never really had the opportunity when they wanted Jake (Shields) to fight over there and when we wanted (Shinya) Aoki, he was scheduled to fight. Now we’re going to be able to put those dream fights together.”
The talent exchange between the promotions will be exclusive.
“If we want to get Japanese fighters, we would work exclusively with Dream, and Dream would work exclusively with us, and M-1 as well,” said Coker. “M-1 will be part of this too.”
He said Mitsuhiro Ishida, who first fought for Strikeforce last September and will rematch Gilbert Melendez after lightweight champion Josh Thomson withdrew due to injury, was the first commitment to the new deal.
Future fights he looked forward to seeing included Fedor Emelianenko vs. Sergei Kharitonov, Robbie Lawler vs. Melvin Manhoef, and the American debut of Shinya Aoki (asked how Aoki would do without his trademark pants, Coker said, “that’s a good question. People are going to have to tune in to Showtime to find out”).
If DREAM and Strikeforce actually ended up mixing and matching rosters the way Bloody Elbow would like them to, it’d be pretty awesome. Who wouldn’t give their left testicle or ovary to see Frank Shamrock vs Sakuraba? But I can’t help but be skeptical. Japanese fight promotions have a pretty miserable track record of lending out their bankable talent and it wouldn’t surprise me if this ended with Strikeforce loaning out some valuable names and only getting Japanese fighters with low North American exposure back. That’s not exactly a bad thing (us fans still get some big fights in DREAM and I’d still geek seeing Crusher Kawajiri in Strikeforce), but it’s a far cry from seeing Robbie Lawler versus Melvin Manhoef on CBS and Shinya Aoki in board shorts.
Man, I hope I’m wrong about this though and DREAM knows how to share.