Despite continual speculation that Strikeforce will make like other Zuffa-owned organizations and fold into the UFC in the very near future, longtime promotional figurehead Scott Coker still has hope for his creation.
Reports were published earlier this week that the organization was set to renew its contract with Showtime, albeit under some different terms. According to Coker, negotiations are ongoing, but nothing has been signed yet.
"There’s nothing to announce but I’m optimistic at this point," Coker said on a Tuesday conference call to promote Strikeforce's next event on December 17. "We’ll have to wait and see. I think that things are going well and I think that we’ll have something shortly.
"In the history of Strikeforce since the relationship with Showtime was developed, we’ve put on some of the best fights in the history of MMA. And that’s going to continue. We still have a good roster of fighters. We’re going to keep putting on great fights."
Strikeforce's current agreement with Showtime expires in the spring of next year. Zuffa officials have publicly had mixed feelings about what the future would hold between the two parties, with comments bordering on unknowingness to a recent positive feel courtesy of UFC President Dana White.
The expectation is that the Strikeforce-Showtime relationship will continue with Showtime agreeing to a more financially comfortable deal and Strikeforce eventually transforming into a feeder show for the UFC.
Through all of this, Coker is adamant that he will continue to promote the one thing that may never actually be folded into the UFC - his women's divisions.
"Right now we’re committed to running those two weight classes," Coker said. "Female fighting has done very well ratings-wise on Showtime, even out-drawing some of the male fights. We’re going to continue scouring the planet looking for the top girls. They’ll be more fights for [Strikeforce women's 145 lb champion] Cris Cyborg as well."
Cyborg left her stamp on the conference call, formally announcing her intention to fight in both the 135 lb and 145 lb weight classes, citing "more opportunities" at the lower weight. Two of her potential opponents could be Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey, who have expressed an interest in fighting each other.
It's a matchup that has also caught Coker's eye.
"I would have no problem putting that fight together," he said.
It's also key to note that Coker shed some light on the finals of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix, which is now being targeted to take place at some point in March, provided that Daniel Cormier's broken hand has properly healed.
"I still predict that it will happen in the late part of the first quarter," Coker stated. "We’d like to get the fight done before the end of the quarter. We’re shooting for March. We’re waiting for Cormier’s recovery from a broken hand. I talked to [American Kickboxing Academy coach] Bob Cook a couple of days ago and Daniel is going to the doctor very shortly and we’re hoping for good news from that."
Next entry: Faber, Cruz to Coach TUF 15
Previous entry: Melendez Eyes Shift to UFC, Stays Focused on Masvidal