This could be legal in the rematch!
Do you like seeing Shinya Aoki cry? Me too. And I’m not alone in my opinion that Melendez is going to expose a magic pants-less Aoki and whup his ass coming up here. If his press conference quotes are any indication, Gilbert would have no problem crossing the Pacific and doing it again, this time with Aoki’s DREAM belt on the line:
“There’s nothing that’s set in stone,” Coker said. “[Strikeforce and DREAM] agreed that we would take it one step at a time and let Gilbert fight Aoki and take it from there.
“But if they do ask Gilbert to come to Japan, I personally would have no problem with it. If Gilbert wanted to do it, maybe he could go back and take the DREAM belt and be a dual title holder.”
“I wouldn’t mind doing that,” Gilbert followed. …
If Aoki (23-4 MMA, 0-0 SF) emerges victorious on April 17, things could get complicated for Strikeforce.
“I think Gilbert would have to go to Japan and beat him up over there,” Coker said. “We would say Gilbert, if you want to fight Aoki, you have to go fight in Japan under DREAM rules and win their belt, (and) bring the DREAM belt here.
“Then, unfortunately, Aoki would keep his Strikeforce belt because the rules are different. [Strikeforce is] in a cage. DREAM is in a ring. So we couldn’t make it a unified belt.
“Then they’d be one and one, and we’d have to do the rubber match.”
This sounds several different kinds of goofy to me. Aoki walks into Strikeforce, takes Gilbert’s belt, and you want to send Gilbert to Japan to try to take Aoki’s? That makes sense if Gilbert wins and he wants to chase it down (although without unifying them, the prospect of defending two belts on opposite sides of the planet is pretty daunting), but if he loses? Weird. And say Aoki does take Gilbert’s belt in Strikeforce and Gilbert takes Aoki’s in DREAM – where do you have the rubber match? On a barge, in something that is neither cage nor ring, with Norwegian judges?
I know that there’s a pretty damn decent falloff after Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez in the Strikeforce lightweight ‘division’, but this kind of makes it sound like both organizations conceding that no challenger will rise up and be in a position to challenge for either belt for a while. This, despite Aoki’s scheduled match against Kawajiri in July. Gotta love Japanese MMA matchmaking (and the American promoters that emulate it).