Earlier today, Strikeforce announced their upcoming “Fedor vs Rogers” card will be broadcast on CBS, not Showtime as previously announced, on November 7.
Shortly thereafter, Fanhouse’s MDS caught up with Strikeforce head honcho Scott Coker to get his thoughts on the surprise announcement.
Michael David Smith: We had previously heard Fedor vs. Rogers would be on Showtime. How did the deal go down to put it on CBS?
Scott Coker: We just got a call that CBS was interested in doing that fight, and we were all in agreement that would be a win-win for CBS to put MMA back on the air. It’s a great day for the mixed martial arts industry.
Will anything change for you, or is doing a card with Showtime basically the same as doing a card with CBS?
It’s basically the same. We’ve worked hard with Showtime to do great fights with big names and star power, and I think we’ll do that and then some with the CBS fights. It’s a chance for us to show the talent we have on our roster to a big audience.
We hear all this talk about co-promotion, between you and M-1 Global. What role did M-1 have in getting this card together and on CBS?
Well, it goes back to when we purchased the assets of Pro Elite, that included the Showtime deal, and CBS had the option to televise some fights. But CBS had to feel comfortable, because the last regime kind of left a bad taste in their mouths. Well, now we’ve put together great fights on Showtime, and we’ve put together a deal with M-1 — which is Fedor’s company, he’s part owner — and that made CBS decide to activate the deal. M-1 has the best fighter in the heavyweight division, arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and getting the deal done with them was good timing for CBS. M-1 has been a great partner, and they contribute a lot. It’s a great relationship and we’re looking forward to co-promoting this fight on Nov. 7.
As a fight fan, how historically significant do you think this is to have the heavyweight championship of the world on network television? That hasn’t happened often in boxing, and it has never happened in MMA. How big a deal do you think this is for the sport?
It’s a very big deal. Not just for our company, not just for Fedor, not just for Brett Rogers, not just for M-1, but for the whole MMA industry. It’s a big statement from CBS.
Coker also confirmed that Gegard Mousasi, Cris Cyborg, Jake Shields and Mayhem Miller will fight on the undercard. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean any titles will be on the line. Coker says Mousasi can fight at not only 205 and 220, but also at 185, the weight he previously fought at but said he could no longer make. We’ll see what Mousasi says, but there’s a lot more interesting fights for him at 185 than any other weight class in Strikeforce. Cris Cyborg may not be defending her shiny new belt either. Apparently a fight above the 145 lbs. weight class is an option. As for Shields and Mayhem, despite rumors of them meeting for the interim middleweight title, Coker would not confirm whether they’ll be fighting each other.
As for the Fedor-Rogers showdown, it’s still a three round non-title fight as of now. Perhaps that could change, but it sounds like they want to put together Fedor-Overeem for the title in February or March if Fedor beats Rogers.
According to the press release, the CBS card is scheduled for four fights, however Coker says they may add a fifth fight and/or a possible swing bout. He wouldn’t comment on the venue, says it should be announced next week, but according to ESPN, the event may take place in Chicago at the Sears Centre. They have another “sizeable” event in the works for December.
Of course, what would a UFC competitor’s major announcement be without a f-bomb laden tirade from Dana White? Unfortunately, it looks like you’ll have to wait till next time, because he was pretty calm after hearing the news earlier today.
Basically, instead of spitting fire at Strikeforce, he just played them down as a small regional promoter who won’t succeed where so many others have failed. “It doesn’t matter,” White said referring to the CBS deal. His real beef is with the Showtime execs who he says are “the most cocky, arrogant, pompous dicks you’ve ever met in your life.”