Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker Says Overeem Won't Defend His Title in Tourney

Andrew GladstoneCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2011

Courtesy of Strikeforce
Courtesy of Strikeforce

Earlier today, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker announced on the media call that current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem won't defend his belt in the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament.

Originally, Coker had planned to make the title "up for grabs" in the tournament but has decided to have a separate heavyweight tournament champion.

"The tournament champion will stand on his own, and we will have our heavyweight champion and the tournament champion," Scott Coker said.

MMA fans will have to wait for Alistair Overeem to defend his title even longer as the Strikeforce tournament will further put on hold more title defenses. 

However, if Overeem can win the tournament, there will be no doubt he's in the elite in MMA, and even without his title on the line, he could arguably become the No.1 heavyweight in the world.

"If Overeem wins, he's not just the best MMA or K-1 fighter, he can say that he's the greatest mixed martial arts fighter in the world," Coker said.

Coker also indicated his struggles with making every fight a five-round fight, and that ultimately lead to his decision of removing Overeem's belt from the tournament, so that he could make it even for all fighters.

All quarterfinal and semifinal bouts will be three, five-minute rounds, and the finals will be contested under five, five-minute rounds.


Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament bracket:

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva                            Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov

Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum (non-title)          Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers


Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Alternate bouts:

Lavar Johnson vs. Shane Del Rosario

Ray Sefo vs. Valentijn Overeem

Chad Griggs vs. Gian Villante