I think it's safe to say we've reached a point of no return for Strikeforce. Or maybe it's been that way for awhile, and maybe we're just starting to see the real effects of a fraying relationship between Zuffa and Showtime.
Things aren't good between the world's two biggest purveyors of mixed martial arts, but you probably knew that already. And maybe things were never good to begin with. From the start, this has been a relationship of necessity; Zuffa wanted to continue running Strikeforce, and it needed the kind of outlet that Showtime could provide. Things seemed rosy at the start, but lately we've had an event cancellation, fighters openly discussing their desire to kill the promotion and a general feeling of unrest and uncertainty.
It's like nobody wants to be involved with their red-headed stepbrother, but nobody really knows how to tell him he's no longer wanted.
Part of that is due to the lack of marketable fights the promotion can put on. The bout between heavyweight grand prix winner Daniel Cormier and former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir seemed like the perfect salve for all wounds, but that went out the window when Mir was injured.
After that, Dana White thought he had the perfect replacement opponent for Cormier in Matt Mitrione; it wasn't perfect, mind you, but it was good enough. Mitrione's a popular enough guy with the fans, and he seemingly can't wrestle his way out of a paper bag, which means he'd be easy pickings for Cormier to get a showcase win.
But Mitrione decided he didn't want the risk (or something else; I can't quite figure out why he turned down the fight), and so we're back at square one with the fight a month away and Cormier still trying to figure out who he'll be facing.
Cormier's taking matters into his own hands, spreading a plea of his own to the Twitter-verse.
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) September 30, 2012
Ideally, Cormier's next opponent would be someone who can help elevate him, both in terms of his name value and giving him a big win to cement his position as a title challenger.
Fabricio Werdum comes to mind—and I'm sure Showtime would love that idea as well—but I get the feeling that Zuffa, after the cancellation of the last Strikeforce card, isn't all that willing to send their bigger stars over to Strikeforce. That may have been viewed as a fine idea before, but it's certainly not being viewed as a fine idea now.
And so the question becomes: Why not Pat Barry? Because if, at the end of the day, there's zero chance of Zuffa sending any more big-name heavyweights over to Strikeforce, why not just grab a guy who's entertaining and popular with the fans? Sure, Cormier is an absolute stylistic nightmare for Barry, but who cares? All of the guys who provide "legitimate" matchups for the former Olympian are either injured or being held in reserve for future UFC cards.
This one is akin to the Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar bout that headlines UFC 153 in two weeks' time; if the best of the best aren't available, why not just make something that would be a good few minutes of meaningless fun?