By Sam Cupitt
With the Mixed Martial Arts world flipped on its head and then supposedly righted again following the UFC’s acquisition of Strikeforce there has been no shortage of news to report or opinion to opine.
One story that seems to have been lost amongst the madness is that of the fate of Strikeforce’s next show. In one of the more highly anticipated events in promotion’s brief history, welterweight champion, Nick Diaz is scheduled to meet UFC-exile, Paul Daley while Strikeforce lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez is set to rematch Tatsuya Kawajiri on April 9th.
The fun doesn’t stop there though as fancy pants enthusiasts, Lyle Beerbohm and Shinya Aoki are also set to go in a very intriguing battle.
Well at least these match-ups were the ones that were signed for the event but they are in serious jeopardy of actually occuring. The aforementioned acquisition plus Mother Nature’s violent tendencies have cast a serious cloud over the event.
Firstly, Paul Daley has mentioned that he’s not altogether comfortable with his promotion’s new owners and is seriously considering dogging the event:
“Business as usual, what if i dont wanna fight for DANA WHITE/ZUFFA?……Dana white bans me for life from the UFC, Then buys STRIKEFORCE, and thinks im still gonna be EASY and fight on one of the most anticipated fights of the year (vs (Nick) Diaz)? Which will no doubt make ZUFFA/Dana White money.”
“Not sure what I’m gonna do right now, honestly, fight for the Strikeforce and be Strikeforce champ, put money in Zuffa/Dana White’s pockets? Or fight here, in the UK for BAMMA, who appreciate my brand, and have my loyal fans, family and media support me. For real. I have a great deal at BAMMA and make just as much money, believe it or not, as I do in the USA. They appreciate my services and what I bring to the company. There is still a lot of competition out there, not all the best fighters are with UFC/Strikeforce, just they get the most recognition.”
If Daley were to pull out, it will be very difficult to find such a short notice opponent for Diaz. It’s doubtful that Tyrone Woodley would want to step up with that amount of notice when he is so young in the sport.
Then there’s the delicate situation of both Tatsuya Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki. There’s a possibility that both Kawajiri and Aoki could forego the event in order to attend to their loved ones back home. This was the case with Yoshihiro Akiyama who pulled out of his bout with Nate Marquardt at UFC 128.
According to MMA Junkie, Strikeforce management have already got two understudies in the wings ready to step in and replace one or either of them if they decide to opt out of their fights.
Lightweights Jorge Masvidal and K.J. Noons originally were targeted to fight each other at the April 9 event. Now, though, they could step in for Tatsuya Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki, respectively.
On Saturday, Noons, a San Diego resident, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he has been told to be ready to fight.
“A couple of days ago the card was full,” he said. “There was no TV room left. But now because of all the bad news that happened in Japan, I don’t know the status of Kawajiri and Aoki. So I’m just training. I might be back on the card. I’m not on it officially yet.”
That leaves the only bout not up in the air on the main card between Gegard Mousasi and Mike Kyle.
And when you’re looking at Mike Kyle as the only stable part of a card, then you know you are in some trouble.