Report: Strikeforce Commits To Arnold Expo Event
As expected Strikeforce will make its Ohio debut in March as part of the Arnold Sports Festival. Today, Ohio Athletic Commission Executive Director Bernie Profato confirmed that Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker since has committed to hosting a show in Ohio's capital city on March 6. The event is expected to air on Showtime from the 19,000-seat Nationwide Arena. Coker and Arnold Sports Festival co-promoter Jim Lorimer currently are working out details. The Arnold Sports Festival is three-day sports and fitness exhibition that draws tens of thousands of attendees. From 2007 to 2010, the UFC or WEC hosted a show in conjunction with the Arnolds but abandoned the slot this year to focus on continued international expansion. Profato continually calls the Arnolds/MMA event weekend "as perfect a marriage as you'll find in professional sports." Profato said a few organizations expressed interest in the vacant March slot, but after the two finally spoke, Coker recently confirmed the company's interest in holding a show. No details for the event are confirmed but a source hinted that the main event could be Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Rafael Cavalcante (Feijao) vs. Dan Henderson for the title.
Coker: We're "Getting Very Close" With Fedor Negotiations
Prior to Saturday's "Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu II," a few industry insiders suggested officials might announce a contract extension with famed heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko during the Showtime broadcast. The announcement, of course, never came. But following the show, which took place at St. Louis' Scottrade Center, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed the organization has made some progress in the negotiations. Emelianenko, a former PRIDE champion who long held the title as the world's No. 1 heavyweight, was upset earlier this year by Fabricio Werdum. The submission defeat remains the only true and legitimate loss of his decade-long career and cost him a likely title shot with current Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem. Emelianenko's M-1 representatives have discussed the possibility of a Werdum rematch – and/or future Overeem fight – and even considered a fight with Antonio Silva at one point. But Emelianenko first needs a new deal to replace his current contract, which has a single fight remaining on it. But the two sides have gotten no further than the negotiating table in recent months. But the sometimes-plodding talks in no way represent an Emelianenko disinterest in fighting again, according to Coker. "Fedor has never been the issue," he said. "But we don't talk to Fedor. We're talking to M-1, and it's an ongoing process."
Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu II recap:
ST. LOUIS – Dan Henderson wasn't about to be left out of the party.
On a fight night that featured some of the year's most vicious knockouts, Dan Henderson scored one of his own in a main-event fight with fellow light-heavyweight Renato "Babalu" Sobral.
Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu weigh-in results: Main-card fighters on weight
ST. LOUIS – MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) was on scene and reporting live from today's official "Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu" fighter weigh-ins.
Today's festivities, which were free and open to the public, took place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, which also hosts Saturday's Showtime-televised event.
Among those weighing in were headliners Dan Henderson and Renato "Babalu" Sobral, who concluded a main-card lineup that all successfully made weight for the show.
The weigh-ins largely went off without a hitch. Preliminary-card competitors Fernando Bettega and Wayne Phillips had an intense staredown and engaged in some trash talk, but that was it in the way of fireworks. Main-card fighter Paul Daley received some cat calls due to his post-fight suckerpunch of Josh Koscheck earlier this year, but he ignored them and had a friendly staredown with opponent Scott Smith.
Don't Be Fat Homie: Jason Miller Baffled By Diaz Weight Restrictions For Possible Grudge Match
And he made his feelings on the matter known recently on Joe Rogan's podcast. "[Diaz has] fought so many times at 183, he always fights there. But then when it's me, somebody he's talked sh*t about for years, his manager says fight at 178. Ok cool, I'll fight Alistair Overeem, he just has to make 190. That's it. I'll fight that [expletive] this weekend at 190. (Strikeforce) wants to do it in January. There's no way. I was a goddamn skeleton (at 170 in the UFC), it was the dumbest thing I ever did."
Strikeforce: Benji Radach vs Ovince St. Preux official for 'Henderson vs Babalu' on Dec. 4
Fast rising light heavyweight prospect Ovince St. Preux, fresh off a unanimous decision win over Antwain Britt less than two weeks ago at Strikeforce Challengers 12, will strap on the gloves once again to battle Benji Radach at the upcoming "Henderson vs. Babalu" event on Dec. 4 in St. Louis.
Radach was gunning for a possible bout with Lucas Lopes after Herschel Walker withdrew from Saturday's Showtime-televised card due to injury; however, the promotion has instead matched him up with the former University of Tennessee linebacker, who is the winner of five consecutive fights with four (T)KO finishes.
Replacement Mike Kyle meets Antonio Silva at "Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu"
Mike Kyle (18-7-1 MMA, 2-2-1 SF) has stepped in as an injury replacement for Valentijn Overeem (28-25 MMA, 0-0 SF) and now meets heavyweight Antonio Silva (14-2 MMA, 1-1 SF) at Saturday's "Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu" event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the switch with multiple sources close to the show, including a Strikeforce official.
The fight is part of the Showtime-televised main card of the show, which takes place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Overeem was forced off the card this past week with an elbow injury
Report: Overeem-Silva At 12/4 SF Off Again
The apparent on-again off-again Valentijn Overeem-Antonio Silva fight at the 12/4 Strikeforce event now appears to be off again. This time it's because Overeem has suffered an undisclosed injury. No word on if a replacement will be sought on only 1 week's notice.
Update: Elbow injury.
Herschel Walker Off 12/4 SF Event
Former NFL great Herschel Walker has been sacked in his preparations for his second MMA fight. A deep cut suffered in training means he is now off the 12/4 Strikeforce event. He was to have faced Scott Carson. No word on a potential replacement. Despite the setback, Walker said he hopes to return to action quickly.
Jesse Finney Off 12/4 Strikeforce Event
One of the featured fighters on next week's "Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu" preliminary card has been scratched from the event. According to SF's MIke Afromowitz, Jesse Finney is now off for as-yet-unknown reasons. Due to Finney's popularity in the host city of St. Louis, he had been a driving force in ticket sales for Strikeforce's Gateway City shows. He was expected to face Scott Smith but those plans fell through when Smith was put in a fight with Paul Daley.
M-1 Seeking Tuneup Fight For Fedor Before Werdum Rematch
That's the word from The Fink, aka M-1 Global head & Fedor manager Vadim Finkelchtein. "We are also looking for one fight before we'd like the rematch with Werdum. However, the rematch is extremely important for us; Fedor should have a chance to avenge his loss." This comes after Werdum himself hinted at a possible overseas fight before his own SF return.
Mousasi Expects LeBanner At Dynamite, Kyle In SF Return
While neither fight is official yet, Gegard Mousasi said today he expects to next face Jerome LeBanner at December's DREAM Dynamite! NYE event in Japan, then to face Mike Kyle in his Strikeforce return in 2011. "I don't know if I'm fighting him yet," Mousasi said of LeBanner. "They haven't confirmed. They asked me, and I said yes, so now if he said yes, the fight is on." It's also not known if Mousasi-LeBanner would be under kickboxing or MMA rules, but Mousasi hopes it's MMA. As for Strikefirce, Mousasi says February. "I'm fighting Mike Kyle in Strikeforce. February – that's what I heard."
Strikeforce's Frank Shamrock joins charge against bullying
A former UFC, WEC and Strikeforce champion – not to mention a former interim King of Pancrase – MMA legend Frank Shamrock admits he hasn't had to worry too much about being bullied throughout his life.
That said, it's becoming very clear to him that he's in the minority.
"I didn't know there was this bullying going on because nobody has ever really bullied me," Shamrock told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It turns out everybody is getting bullied."
Shamrock officially announced his retirement from fighting earlier this year, but the 15-year veteran of the sport remains on with Strikeforce as a commentator and spokesperson for the promotion.
With his days of competition behind him, Shamrock said he believes it's now his responsibility to give back to the sport and community that have given so much to him.
"Martial arts saved my life and made me who I am," Shamrock said. "For me not to do spread that message would be wrong. That's my job.
Strikeforce's Dan Henderson committed to 205 pounds, not considering retirement
Next month's main event and rematch with Renato "Babalu" Sobral (36-8 MMA, 2-1 SF) is a big fight for former UFC and PRIDE star Dan Henderson (25-8 MMA, 0-1 SF).
But it's unlikely to be the final bout for the 40-year-old fighter and 13-year MMA veteran.
With a move back to light heavyweight following a failed big to win the Strikeforce middleweight title, Henderson said he feels great heading into Showtime's Dec. 4 headliner.
The event, "Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu," takes place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
"I have always felt comfortable at 205," said Henderson, who previously held PRIDE titles in both weight classes, during a media conference call. "I have never felt weak or out-powered. I can eat a good meal the night before the fight. ... It's one less thing I need to worry about before the fight. I am hanging out at 203, 204 (pounds)."
Is Herschel Walker An Embarrassment To MMA?
WEC veteran Keith Berry thinks so. "I'd love to fight Herschel Walker, but they'd probably never give me that fight because they only want to give him the wins. I think sometimes Strikeforce they build up these guys like Herschel Walker, like the last fight I saw him in, he fought a guy that was 1-1 and he just looked bad. I just thought he looked really bad, and his hands were so stiff and I just thought if I gave him one good overhand right, he would just go down. I saw his fight and it was embarrassing. A regular guy, a journeyman could smash him. That's just my opinion." Berry said he could try to make the fight happen if he beats Brett Cooper this weekend in California.
Josh Thomson: If WEC Lightweights Were That Good, They Already Would Have Been Fighting For UFC
Or in his words, MMAth + Hermes Franca +/- Strikeforce = Huh? "They made it sound so great that a company went under. The simple fact of the matter was that the WEC failed and they put it with the UFC to carry it. To compare WEC lightweights to Strikeforce and the UFC is not fair because if they were that good, they would have been fighting for the UFC. I think the world of (Jamie) Varner, but I beat Hermes (Franca) and Hermes beat Varner. Varner was the WEC champ for awhile. So, where does that leave us?"