Strikeforce continues this Saturday night, but without heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, some of the fighters are wondering what they’re fighting for.
Overeem, Strikeforce’s last heavyweight champion, signed on with the UFC and will fight Brock Lesnar at the end of the year. It’s easy to see why Overeem decided to move to the UFC, he’ll be getting bigger fights and bigger checks, but it doesn’t say much for the Strikeforce organization.
Ben Fowlkes, at Sports Illustrated, writes:
“When it started, the (Strikeforce) Grand Prix was supposed to be the tournament that would crown a top heavyweight and revitalize the entire Strikeforce organization. Now, less than a year later, the stakes are vague at best, the big-name stars are almost completely absent, and the champion is headed to the UFC.”
The UFC purchased Strikeforce last March, but it doesn’t look like they’re investing too much effort into the struggling fighting league. Instead, the Strikeforce Grand Prix seems like a farm league for the UFC. Win and you can get a chance to compete on the big stage. Lose, and well, you’ll end up as a cautionary tale.
SI points notes that fighters like Brett Rogers, Fedor Emelianenko, Andrei Arlovski, and Fabricio Werdum all lost their positions after being knocked out of the Grand Prix tournament.
So is that what the Strikeforce fighters are fighting for on Saturday? Survival? Will Antonio Silva and Sergei Kharitonov follow in Alistair Overeem’s footsteps? Will Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier be kicked to the curb?
But maybe that’s just the nature of the beast. It is a fight after all.
“Titles and things like that are spoils of war. You have to go out there and win battles before you can raid the dead of all their belongings.”
Here’s a preview of Saturday Night’s Strikeforce fights.