In an attempt to build up some hype for Robbie Lawler vs Babalu Sobral during yesterday’s Strikeforce LA conference call (full transcript right here), Scott Coker tacked on some title implications for the fight:
“If ‘Babalu’ looks good and wins the fight, I think that he will be first in line for a matchup [with] ‘King Mo,'” Coker said. “Robbie, if he wins the fight, he’ll be first in line to have a title shot at 185 pounds against ‘Jacare’ (Souza).”
“Normally we don’t put those fights out there, but I wanted to let everybody know that this fight will have consequences. It’ll be an interesting show, and we’re looking forward to putting it on.”
There’s a few problems there though: Babalu recently stated that he was planning to drop down to middleweight after this fight. Then there’s the issue of him being training partners with King Mo. Aaaaaand also the fact that he got brutally crushed in a minute flat during his last fight – I know it may be hard to remember because it happened in August of 2009, the last time Strikeforce bothered to book him. So he wins this fight that he was a replacement for, and he gets a title shot? Sounds like a pretty well thought out plan to me…
But hey, if Babs plans on moving down to 185 after, then this could always be for the middleweight belt and that would be cool, right? I’d be down with seeing Robbie Lawler show off his hilariously bad submission defense against Jacare. And Jacare vs Babalu … two solid ground guys going at it would be great. Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that six days ago Scott Coker was talking about a middleweight tournament to determine a new champ:
“If it works out (with Shields), great,” Coker said. “If not, Strikeforce has a bunch of great middleweights, and we’ll go into the tournament business. We’re still fleshing out the details, but we’re leaning toward that.”
What drives me nuts about this is a middleweight tournament would actually have been pretty epic. That division has Dan Henderson, Jacare, Mayhem Miller, Robbie Lawler, Frank Shamrock, Tim Kennedy, Matt Lindland, Joey Villasenor, Scott Smith, Melvin Manhoef, Cung Le, and Benji Radach (if Radach is ever healthy enough to fight again). And finally, Strikeforce would have at least one division where fights actually move fighters towards a title shot in sane fashion.