As most businessmen do prior to each year’s end, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker rattled off a lofty list of goals for 2011 and beyond. Something that appears to sit atop the promoter’s wish list is a trip to the land of the rising sun.
“We’ve been talking to Dream for a long time about coming to Japan and doing a ‘Dream vs. Strikeforce’ type of event,” Coker told Sherdog. “We’ve had conversations. There’s nothing set in that sense, but I sure think it’d be a lot of fun to go to Japan and throw a big Strikeforce event in Saitama Super Arena.”
The two organizations have shared athletes in the past, with many of Strikeforce’s top dogs igniting their careers overseas. Most namely, international superstars Alistair Overeem and Fedor Emelianenko.
“What about Fedor’s popularity in Japan? He’s a superstar there,” Coker added. “He can’t even walk down the street. Japan on a lot of fronts would make a lot of sense, but there’s nothing final. There’s conversations, but I know this from working with those guys for all those years, everything moves a little slower over there.”
If Strikeforce can eventually arrange a promotion-versus-promotion fight card, one match-up that thoroughly intrigues Coker is a lightweight affair between his champ Gilbert Melendez and Japan’s Tatsuya Kawajiri. In fact, he’ll hold the scrap on U.S. soil if that’s the only way it can get done.
“We’re definitely having that conversation,” Coker said of the proposed showdown. “I’m going to try to work that out and get Kawajiri in there with Gilbert. I think that that’s a fight we’re interested in.
“I know that Kawajiri wants to come fight here in America.”
Melendez took a unanimous decision win over the Japanese fighter at “Pride: Shockwave 2006.” Kawajiri has lost only twice since their fateful encounter and was last seen beating former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson at “Dynamite!! 2010.”