After a long period of negotiations, Strikeforce and Showtime announced that they would be continuing their relationship, with six to eight events taking place in 2012. The first event of the new deal will be the January 7 card featuring a middleweight title bout between champion Luke Rockhold and Keith Jardine.
In addition to the new Showtime deal, it was announced that the Strikeforce heavyweight division will be dissolved in 2012.
When the topics of the still unfinished Strikeforce World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament and vacant Heavyweight title were brought up, Coker had the following to say:
I think I should just bring it out there, Strikeforce, we’re going to focus on our other weight classes. We have a great lightweight division, welterweight, middleweight and a light heavyweight and we’re going to focus on the women’s divisions. What you’ll see after the event, with the tournament finals between Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett is you’ll see one more fight where the winner will fight a top-rated heavyweight and then we’re going to go back to focusing on our other weight classes.
White was more to the point when discussing the Strikeforce heavyweight division.
After this tournament, they’re going to do one more heavyweight fight and do away with the heavyweight division. You guys have heard me say this for years: Heavyweight divisions aren’t deep enough to create this huge division, so we’re going to focus on the weight divisions that are strong.
While White and Coker were sure that the Strikeforce heavyweight division would be going away, they were noncommittal as far as who would be transferring from Strikeforce to the UFC.
Coker did say that the goal was to have the Grand Prix wrapped up by the end of the first quarter of 2012, with the final heavyweight fight to follow at a later date.