Let's face it, the three letters: UFC have come to be interchangeable with MMA in some circles. To the casual fan, the only thing that exists in the world of mixed martial arts is UFC and that must eat away at other MMA promoters.
Scott Coker, the CEO of Strikeforce has to find a way to promote his brand in order to gain more recognition from the casual fan.
He has to find a way to get folks to stop referring to MMA as "Ultimate Fighting" as New York State Assemblyman Bob Reilly did when he went on his anti-MMA tirade.
The key to success or maybe just survival against the UFC will be the fighters in the Strikeforce stable, what follows are the fighters that Strikeforce must build around as the promotion moves forward.
See that asterisk up there next to his name? Yup, that is up there for a number of reasons.
1) Strikeforce brawl in Nashville
2) Needs to be kept away from any type of recording equipment that is not directly involved in a fight. Have you seen this guy's interviews?
3) Nick Diaz cares only about Nick Diaz and no one and nothing else, or at least that is how it seems.
4) He's a promoter's nightmare, bad mouthing whoever he wants whenever he wants, not showing up for interviews, or as Dana White says, he just doesn't know how "to play the game."
5) He quite possibly could be batshit crazy, he started a fight in the hospital with a guy he had just fought in the Octagon.
I could probably go on, but why bother.
For all his issues, Diaz is a good fighter with a Strikeforce title. He needs to be promoted properly.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker needs to take a stronger role with the welterweight champion, or at least attempt to. Coker needs to try and reign this guy in and use him for the good of his organization. Can that be done? Who knows?
Woodley is a home-grown Strikeforce fighter, joining the promotion early in his professional career. He now has a record of 9-0 and is looking for a title fight after his dismantling of Andre Galvao.
It's probably premature for a title fight, but an undefeated homegrown Strikeforce fighter with an interesting background story is a good building block for Strikeforce.
11th of 13 kids raised by his mother near St Louis
Honor roll student through high school
All conference football player in high school
48-0 high school wrestling record and state title winner
University of Missouri wrestler with 110 career wins and two time All American
Is he a great fighter? No.
Is he a legitimate title contender? Not any longer.
But he is wildly popular and can self-promote like no one else (since Sonnen has gone silent). Strikeforce needs to book Miller on some highly visible cards and use him to promote the name.
They should also consider sinking some cash into sponsoring "Bully Beatdown" on MTV and use Mayhem and his show to further the Strikeforce brand.
Jacare currently holds the Strikeforce middleweight title, a belt he won by defeating Tim Kennedy via unanimous decision. Before joining Strikeforce he was most well known for his DREAM fights against Jason Miller and his loss via brutal upkick to Gegard Mousasi.
Jacare is a five time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion and is considered to be one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners ever.
Jacare lost his first pro MMA fight and then went on a 10-fight winning streak that ended in the Mousasi fight.
He is on a three-fight Strikeforce winning streak and has shown improvement in his striking and stand up fighting with each passing fight.
His next fight will be his first as the middleweight champion.
Mousasi carries an MMA record of 30-3-1. He is also the past owner of many current and former titles;
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion
Former DREAM middleweight champion
2008 DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix champion
2010 DREAM light heavyweight Grand Prix champion
Former Cage Warriors middleweight champion
Current DREAM light heavyweight champion
Currently the only non-UFC fighter ranked in the top ten on the USA Today light heavyweight consensus MMA rankings
Since losing his Strikeforce belt to "King Mo" Muhammed Lawal in April of this year, Mousasi has scored two victories in Japan fighting for DREAM.
Strikeforce would be wise to get him involved in a fight in the US as soon as possible.
Werdum is the first fighter to beat Fedor Emelianenko in nearly 10 years.
For that reason alone, Strikeforce should use him to promote the brand.
In addition to the win over Fedor, he has victories over Antonio Silva and Alistair Overeem.
"King Mo" took the Strikeforce light heavyweight belt from Gegard Mousasi in April 2010 via unanimous decision. He then lost the belt in his first defense to Rafael Cavalcante. Prior to that loss, "King Mo" was undefeated with a 7-0 record.
Lawal, a former two-time Division I NCAA All-American wrestler, is one of the better wrestlers currently in MMA and has a huge amount of power in his hands.
Lawal is out until mid 2011 due to knee surgery, but when he comes back he will be looking to get his belt back.
Strikeforce needs to hype his return and hope "King Mo" is successful when he gets back in the cage.
|Alistair Overeem is the current Strikeforce heavyweight champion. He is a monster of a fighter, weighing in at 253 pounds of pretty much solid muscle. He has been an MMA fighter since 1999 and yet he is relatively unknown to casual fans. Strikeforce needs to rectify this.|
Fans love huge, over-the-top fighters (Brock, anyone?) and Overeem could be in that category if Strikeforce marketed him better.
He is a top ten ranked heavyweight, he is an accomplished kickboxer that is currently involved in the K1 Grand Prix. He has all the makings of a man Strikeforce should build their promotion around.
However they cannot and should not hype him as a one-dimensional muscle freak. Instead, they should use the above credentials to show the fans that he is a well-rounded fighter who can do more than go in there and bully his opponents.
If Tim Kennedy was a professional wrestler people would swear that his story was scripted. When he was young his mother had him take cooking classes and piano lessons. His father, on the other hand, had him training in boxing, wrestling and Japanese jujitsu.
He later earned a degree in Criminal Justice and then joined the Army. While enlisted he joined the Special Forces. In 2005 Kennedy won the army hand-to-hand fighting tournament and then went on to win the tourney again in 2006 and 2007.
Kennedy describes himself as follows, "I'm probably the oldest young guy you could ever meet. I go to bed pretty early because I have early workouts. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I'm kind of boring. I'm not getting in fights on 6th Street at 1 o'clock in the morning anymore."
Kennedy's MMA record is 12-3. The three losses coming to Scott Smith, Jason Miller, and most recently to Ronaldo Souza. His unanimous decision loss to Souza was for the vacant Strikeforce middleweight championship.
Strikeforce would be wise to get Kennedy more high-profile fights and use his background and personality to help appeal to fans who think MMA fighters are all knuckleheads...like the two guys on the next slide.
This is a "Do Not Use These Two Guys To Promote Strikeforce" slide. Why? Well Daley needs to prove he can keep his cool and not become frustrated by an opponent that beats him.
Daley is out of UFC because he threw an after the bell cheap shot on Josh Koscheck. If Daley proves he can keep his cool under pressure, then add him to the list of fighters to build around, but until then, beware.
Josh Barnett seems to think he is in some professional wrestling promotion where you will be awarded by being the most outrageous figure.
He needs to understand that when he makes comments like the below, he comes off very poorly and reflects badly on a sport that is looking for mainstream acceptance.
"...when I dislocate and tear somebody’s head completely off their shoulders and spew blood all over the ring, and then drink it, I want the world to see it. I’d love to fight on CBS; punch somebody so hard that their eyeballs pop out of their head.”
Coker needs to sit down with Barnett and ask him what he is thinking with that type of stupidity. Does he really think CBS is going to sign on to show a Barnett card?