In case you didn’t know, Strikeforce is hosting a major event this Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. However, that was the last thing company CEO Scott Coker was talking about late Tuesday evening.
To kick off the flurry of late breaking news, Coker confirmed with MMAJunkie their Heavyweight Grand Prix would not headline their April 9th show as previously announced. Instead, the San Jose, California based promotion will replace the two quarterfinals matchups with a pair of title scraps.
Lightweight king Gilbert Melendez will put his crown on the line against Japanese star Tatsuya Kawajiri in the card’s co-featured contest, while welterweight champion Nick Diaz defends his belt against Paul Daley in the night’s main event.
They have yet to secure a home for their April 9th extravaganza, although San Diego, California has emerged as the front runner to play host.
Thankfully, none of those issues apply to their HW GP. Coker announced the second leg of their tourney will resume June 18th inside the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Coker cited the record-setting success “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva” had as the reason for the tournament’s delay.
“The overwhelming success in New Jersey set the bar high,” Coker told the website. “With a record pre-sale for Strikeforce tickets and a record viewership on Showtime, we’ve now given ourselves the proper amount of time to promote in one of the country’s biggest markets.”
Coker later told ESPN’s Josh Gross that Shinya Aoki, KJ Noons and Gina Carano could all make their returns in Dallas. Gegard Mousasi will also face Mike Kyle in the Lone Star State.
If you’re thinking an Aoki vs. Noons showdown, Gross reported the Japanese fighter would face a grappler. Noons is known for his boxing prowess.