Report: Strikeforce Heavyweight Division to be Phased Out
By FCF Staff
While Strikeforce will continue operating in 2012, it appears as though the heavyweight division is not part of Zuffa’s long term plans for the promotion. Although the new agreement between Showtime and Strikeforce will feature the heavyweight grand-prix final between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier, the organization will stop promoting heavyweight bouts soon after.
According to multiple reports, Strikeforce President Scott Coker announced in a teleconference this afternoon that after the winner of the Barnett and Cormier bout competes one more time, the promotion will focus on its other weight divisions. Although no time frame was given, Coker reportedly did confirm that the GP winner would face a top ranked heavyweight.
No decision as to what will happen to heavyweights currently signed to Strikeforce has been made.
Other details that emerged from today’s teleconference include that Strikeforce will continue to promote the women’s 135 and 145 pound divisions, however, the promotion’s longstanding Challengers series will not go on. Champions for Strikeforce’s vacant welterweight and light-heavyweight title will be determined next year.
News that Strikeforce will no longer promote a heavyweight division is a dramatic departure from the organization plans in 2011. In February, the promotion began a grand-prix tournament which featured several noteworthy and highly regarded heavyweights, including Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, Antonio Silva, Josh Barnett and Fedor Emelianenko.
By the conclusion of the tournament’s semi-finals in September, only Barnett and Overeem’s eventual replacement, the aforementioned Cormier, remained.