Strikeforce Middleweight Grand Prix Nixed

Written by Tom Ngo
November 6th, 2010

Strikeforce Middleweight Champ Ronaldo Jacare Souza

Have you noticed the lack of attention Strikeforce’s Middleweight Grand Prix has garnered? Perhaps that’s because company CEO Scott Coker has decided to scrap the idea of crowning a top contender via tournament form.

“We were hoping it would happen, but it didn’t happen and we’re happy with [Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza] being our world champion,” Coker told MMAWeekly.com. “I think he’s a great representative and a great fighter.”

After former 185-pound king Jake Shields vacated the belt to swim in the Octagon’s pool, the San Jose, California-based promotion considered a tourney to anoint a new champion. Instead, they opted to arrange a vacant title tango between Tim Kennedy and Jacare.

The middleweights battled for 25 hard-fought minutes, leaving many to believe the scrap was knotted at two rounds apiece as they entered the 5thRound. Although the 49-46, 48-47, 48-47 tally suggested otherwise, the scrap was a difficult one to score because they appeared to mirror each other’s work in every stanza.

Kennedy was visibly upset once the decision was rendered, however the former Green Beret was gracious in defeat after losing the biggest non-Middle East battle of his courageous life. It appears he will have to work his way back up the totem pole without the added speed of a Grand Prix.

According to the report, Coker and Co. had problems organizing a one-night tournament with most athletic commissions, to go along with a barrage of other issues – with extending Fedor Emelianenko’s contract likely topping his priority list.

Strikeforce hosted a modified women’s tourney back in August. In 2007, they held a four-man middleweight tournament in San Jose.

In addition to Kennedy, Coker said Matt Lindland, Robbie Lawler and Jason “Mayhem” Miller are all possible contenders to the Brazilian’s throne.

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