On the heels of Monday’s announcement that they will host future co-promotions with M-1 Global, ahem signed Fedor Emelianenko, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker claims that his wheelin’ ‘n dealin’ days are far from over. The friendly promoter has maintained good relationships overseas and intends to leverage that in order to showcase his revamped roster. Japan, are you in the house?
Coker has been long-time acquaintances with promoter Kazuyoshi Ishii of Dream, one of Japan’s most popular mixed martial arts organizations, as the two worked together closely for eight years during their K-1 kickboxing days.
“At the beginning of this MMA relationship, we had talked about having Dream fighters come over, and our fighters go over there, and having this relationship,” Coker told MMAWeekly.com. “Well, we all got busy and we never really had the opportunity when they wanted Jake (Shields) to fight over there and when we wanted (Shinya) Aoki, he was scheduled to fight. Now we’re going to be able to put those Dream fights together.”
Deals may have fallen through in the past, however Dream knows how much more valuable Strikeforce is now after inking Emelianenko. The Russian made his career in the Orient and they, as well as he, would love nothing more than to keep ringing in the New Year in Japan, something that he has done for the last five years.
“This is a deal that I’ve wanted to make happen where we could start utilizing the fighters and having a good relationship with Dream,” said Coker. “I think it’s important, because as a fan, I think they’re going to get some amazing fights that would not happen if the alliance wasn’t created.”
World Victory Road’s Sengoku, Japan’s other major MMA organization, also has a slew of foreign talent that could possibly be available, however Coker stated that his loyalties remain with Ishii and Dream.
“If we want to get Japanese fighters, we would work exclusively with Dream, and Dream would work exclusively with us, and M-1 as well,” said Coker. “M-1 will be part of this too.”
Coker mentioned that Japanese lightweight sensation Mitsuhiro Ishida is the first in a long line of fighters the two companies will be exchanging.
Ishida, who made his Strikeforce debut last September, will be subbing in for injured lightweight champ Josh Thomson to take on interim title holder Gilbert Melendez at “Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg” on August 15th.
Coker’s share-and-share-alike business practices, which happens to be the polar-opposite of his UFC counterparts, has allowed him to reel in the world’s best heavyweight, as well as expand his talent pool through an “alliance” with another organization.
Let’s see if playing nice will help them take down MMA’s monopoly.