Roy Jones Jr. Photo courtesy of HBO Championship Boxing.
Just because Dana White won’t let Roy Jones Jr fight Anderson Silva in the UFC doesn’t mean that he’s going to stop trying to get into the sport of mixed martial arts. Mere hours after an agreement between Jones and Silva’s camps was shot down, word now comes that RJJ may be interested in a fight with Nick Diaz.
The issue was discussed on Strikeforce’s conference call with the media today and not everyone that is part of the Strikeforce/Showtime alliance is on the same page when it comes to boxing’s former pound-for-pound king. Ken Hershman for one, believes that the idea is a complete waste of time:
“I get a Roy Jones call once a week, pitching me things. That would be a very, very long shot of ever happening on Showtime. I think it’s an insult to the integrity of mixed martial arts to think Roy Jones, or any professional boxer, can just come in and fight Nick Diaz in a mixed martial arts context. In a boxing context, it’s completely different. Beyond that, it’s not the strategy that we’re employing. We’re looking to build the best mixed martial arts brand. I believe that we have the best professional boxing brand on television and I think our fights, month in and month out, prove that. I don’t see the need to combine the two at the moment. I wouldn’t want to go down that path just now.”
Scott Coker? Well he’s at least interested in entertaining the idea:
“I did get a call from Nick’s manager asking me if I’d be interested in looking at a fight between Roy Jones and Nick. I said, ‘Are you talking about boxing? Are you talking about MMA?’ He says, ‘In MMA.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s something we can definitely have a conversation about. That just happened this morning. That’s the extent of it.”
The only thing I missed in all of this was Diaz’s camp actually coming out and saying that they were interested in the fight. But, they did. They also put out a little note this morning saying that Coker had completely agreed to the matchup but we now know that isn’t completely true.
So will a fight between Diaz and Jones now happen? Probably not. Just like I said with Jones and Silva, it’s too risky to Showtime and the Strikeforce brand.
Even though Jones likely has no grappling experience of any kind, the fact that certain mixed martial artists, such as Silva and maybe Diaz, could be interested in standing with him presents the risk of a potential loss.
With Showtime just beginning to build up the Strikeforce brand on their network, having a boxer past his prime come in and defeat one of Strikeforce’s biggest starts would be a huge blow to both sides. Who would want to watch MMA on Showtime after that when obviously boxing would be where the better fighters are? At least that’s the perception that the casual fan may end up having.