Let’s talk StrikeForce

February 18th, 2009

With the focus around here being on B.J. Penn the last few weeks, I haven’t had a chance to address the big news that StrikeForce purchased EliteXC.

As a mixed martial arts fan, it’s huge news for the continued growth of the sport. Scott Coker, the man in charge of StrikeForce, has been around combat sports for a long time, and his StrikeForce business model over the last few years has been the best of any promotion out there. Unlike EliteXC and Affliction spending top dollars to try and compete with the UFC, Coker has done what has been successful. Stay small, don’t go overboard on things, and run solid, exciting events based in California that generate huge draws. He knew how big Cung Le and Frank Shamrock are in Southern California, and the fight they put on last year was huge, and looked great on Showtime.

Now, with the EliteXC roster in his control and TV deals with Showtime and CBS, he can do big things with what he’s got, and I think he will. Like I’ve said before, because of the time he spent in Hawaii with Icon, I have become a big fan of Robbie Lawler, and the chance to see him face Shamrock and Cung Le is exciting. I know KJ Noons wants to focus on his boxing career, but eventually he will fight in MMA again and exciting matchups with Josh Thomson, Gilbert Melendez, Eddie Alvarez and some of the Japanese guys are out there.

Almost every women’s MMA fight I’ve ever watched has been exciting, and seeing Christine Cyborg Santos against Gina Carano could be the greatest one ever.

And maybe we’ll see Falaniko Vitale back in a StrikeForce event. Coker has mentioned to me the couple of times I’ve talked to him how he’d love a Vitale vs. Melvin Manhoef fight. Can you imagine the first 60 seconds of that one?

The first show with the revamped roster is April 11. Frank Shamrock against Nick Diaz is the main event and I’ve read that Jake Shields will fight Joe Riggs. Good start to what I think, unlike most other MMA organizations, will be a great future for StrikeForce.

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