Remember when the reality show "The Fifth Wheel" was on TV? You know, that show that aired entirely in syndication with the tag "...where strangers become lovers and lovers become bitter suicidal exes all in the same show?"
Of course you don't, it was about as forgettable a reality show as "Joe Millionaire" -- money tagline though. I'm a sucker for a good tagline. It's the only reason I saw "Citizen Kane," true story.
Anyway, "The Fifth Wheel" was the show where they took two pairs of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes and sent them on dates with each other. After they started to show some chemistry they would send in a random fifth person to split up a couple with the knowledge that, at worst, one person would go home alone. Thus being free to be made fun of repeatedly by the comedic writers in marginally funny blurbs and animated skits.
It was this show that sprung to mind when Strikeforce announced it's Welterweight main-event between KJ Noons and Nick Diaz in an email in which they weren't going to announce what the main event was. Screwball humor, unintentional sadness, total failure.
When you look for reasons why fans have a hard time embracing Strikeforce as a first tier promotion, this kind of exemplifies why. Instead of patching together a one-off, catchweight bout with the man everybody is dying to see Nick Diaz fight... Jason “Mayhem” Miller. You schedule a rematch of a bout in which Diaz got beat by a superior boxer with a good sprawl game.
While I'm not opposed to seeing the Noons-Diaz rematch, why wouldn't you jump at the opportunity of putting together Miller-Diaz first? They both want each other pretty desperately, the only barrier is weight and that's felled pretty quickly when you realize you just held a main-event, catchweight, duel-title eliminator, so it's not like you haven't gotten creative before.
Instead, you've put yourself in a box, banking on Nick Diaz beating KJ Noons and Mayhem defeating Sakuraba at Dream.16 to keep one of your most anticipated fights alive.
Then again they probably haven't even thought about it like that. Their entire organizational policy has always been, book a date, see which of their stars needs a fight and throw him in with the best fighter you can get in the cage the fastest.
If the Strikeforce brand is going to move into first tier status, it's going to be because Richard Chou, Scott Coker, and Ken Hershman are going to begin to build a long term brand of forward thinking matchmaking. Learning, in this case, when it's best to bleed to put a fight together, and when it's best not to.
Their 170lb division is a desolate wasteland of Noons, Diaz and nothing. They've squandered Jay Hieron after he beat up what was left of Joe Riggs' usefulness. What are they doing?
They needed time, and there it was, sitting right there for them to take. A chance to add talent, to stall for time while Tyron Woodley and Andre Galvao rose to contendership status. A way to make something good of the Nashville brawl.
How exactly can fans not be disappointed?