Strikeforce and Showtime have announced their big heavyweight tournament, along with a fancy pants picture showing off the brackets. The interesting thing to note here is the left side – Fedor vs Bigfoot and Overeem vs Werdum. The winners will face eachother, sorting out the gigantic heavyweight clusterfuck of 2010 quite nicely.
When you think about it, it kinda makes this only half a tournament – the fights happening on the left bracket were the matches that should have been booked before, and then you have a four man tourney on the other side to face the top champion. That’s not really a criticism, just a thought. I actually like it that way, although based on Strikeforce’s original plan to have Werdum face Brett Rogers, I doubt it was the original plan. Could kinda mess up a big PPV culmination – would you pay $44.95 for Fedor / Arlovski 2?
There are still a few questions about Josh Barnett though … he kinda fucked the dog on getting his license renewed in California, and while there are a lot of states out there that don’t give a crap (*cough* Texas *cough*), others are less likely to rubber stamp the process:
Ohio State Athletic Commissioner Bernie Profato spoke with MMAFA.tv as well, sounding more resolute and less optimistic regarding Barnett’s chances to compete at Strikeforce’s event in Columbus, Ohio on March 5:
“First off, they’d have to get whatever situation is going on in California cleared up. That’s even before we consider it. And I don’t have anything here showing that [Barnett] is attempting to get licensed in the state of Ohio.
“We check every fighter out. I they have something pending somewhere else, and that’s the case here, then we have to get that straightened out with the organization that it’s pending with. And if there’s history of a drug situation, we would have them come out here and produce a clean drug test, probably at Ohio State University at the medical clinic. Anybody who has tested positive before would have to do that prior to the event. We have to keep up the integrity of the sport.”
Scott Coker seems less worried:
Is there any concern about Josh Barnett getting a license?
Not at all. We’ve talked to four athletic commissions that will license him with a clean test. We feel confident that won’t be an issue. Keep in mind Josh Barnett went to Sacramento six weeks ago, took a test and was clean. He hasn’t fought for a year-and-a-half in America. He still has issues in California, so his fight won’t be in California, but Josh has moved on, and we’re moving on, too. He’s been out of the fight business in America for 18 months. I think he’s served his time.
But it’s worth noting that when the question of when and where the Barnett fight would happen, he couldn’t answer the question.
What are the chances we’ll see Rogers-Barnett & Werdum-Overeem at your March show in Columbus, Ohio?
In Columbus, we’re going to do a regular show, not part of the heavyweight tournament. In April, we’ll come back with the other two quarterfinals. We’re looking for venues right now so we don’t have the location.
Spreading the quarterfinals out like that is less than ideal. Could the OSAC’s shocking display of commission solidarity have something to do with it?